Operation Car Wash
Operation Car Wash is an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch, judicially commanded by, Judge Sérgio Moro, Judge Luiz Antonio Bonat. A money laundering investigation, it has expanded to cover allegations of corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras, where executives accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices; this criminal "system" is known as "Operação Lava Jato" – "Operation Car Wash" – because it was first uncovered at a car wash in Brasilia, or "Petrolão" because the scandal involved the state-controlled oil company. The operation has included more than a thousand warrants for search and seizure and preventive detention, plea bargain coercive measures, with the aim of ascertaining the extent of a money laundering scheme suspected of moving more than R$30 billion. Operation Car Wash is the largest corruption scandal in the history of Latin America; the name was chosen because the alleged ring used a currency exchange and money transfer service at the Posto da Torre and lava jato in Brasília to move illicit payments.
At least eleven other countries in Latin America, were involved, the Brazilian company, was implicated. The corruption scandal grew in part because it challenged the impunity of politicians and business leaders that had prevailed until then. Structural corruption in the political and economic system, no longer tolerated or accepted, was now being investigated and resulted in some criminal charges; this change was made possible because of the independence of the judiciary. Judge Sergio Moro's Operation Car Wash investigation indicted untouchable politicians, including the former presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, it succeeded because of ‘rewarded collaboration’ and the strategy of first targeting businesspeople using their statements against politicians. The initial accusation came from businessman Hermes Magnus in 2008, who reported an attempt to launder money through his company, Dunel Indústria e Comércio, a manufacturer of electronic components. Ensuing investigations culminated in the identification of four large criminal rings, headed by: Carlos Habib Chater Alberto Youssef Nelma Kodama Raul Henrique SrourInvestigation at first focused on the four black-market currency dealers and improper payments to Alberto Youssef by companies that won contracts at the Petrobras Abreu & Lima Refinery.
After they discovered that "doleiro" Alberto Youssef had acquired a Range Rover Evoque for Paulo Roberto Costa, a former director of Petrobras, the investigation expanded nationwide. Costa agreed. A newly adopted law introduced'rewarded collaboration' in Brazil, or sentence reductions when the defendant cooperated. Costa's submission illuminated the way political parties controlled the state-owned oil company Petrobras, it led to a wave of arrests. Fernando Soares known as "Fernando Baiano," a businessman and lobbyist, was the connection between the governing parties Workers’ Party and PMDB and the major Brazilian construction firms. After Costa and Soares, many more agreed to collaborate with the prosecution and from 2014 and February 2016, the Federal Public Prosecutors formulated 37 criminal charges against 179 people of politicians and businessmen. In December 2017 nearly three hundred people had been accused of crimes in the scandal. After Marcelo Odebrecht, grandson of the company founder, was sentenced to 19 years in prison, he and other Odebrecht executives were willing to act as witnesses and to give information about the overall corruption scheme, because of the sentence reduction incentives of the ‘Rewarded Collaboration’ Law.
Odebrecht had a secret branch used for illegal payments in several Latin American countries, from Hugo Chávez in Venezuela to Ricardo Martinelli in Panama. Odebrecht was charged with fines totalling $2.6 billion by authorities of Brazil and the United States after they admitted bribing officials in twelve countries for around $788 million. Costa and Youssef entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors and the scope of the investigation widened to nine major Brazilian construction firms: as well as politicians involved with Petrobras. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who chaired the board of Petrobras from 2003 to 2010, denied knowledge of any wrongdoing; the Brazilian Supreme Court authorized the investigation of 48 current and former legislators, including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in March 2016. Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil from 2015 to 2016, was accused of taking US$40 million in bribes and hiding funds in secret bank accounts, he is presently incarcerated.
On 19 January 2017, a small plane carrying Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki crashed into the sea near the tourist city of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, killing the magistrate and four other people. Zavascki had been handling Operation Car Wash corruption trials. A Miami Herald report noted in September 2017 that when Operation Car Wash began, fewer than 10,000 electronic monitoring bracelets were in use to enforce home detentions sentences. Petrobras delayed reporting its annual financial results for 2014, in April 2015 released "audited financial statements" showing $2.1 billion in bribes and a total of $17 billion in write-downs due to graft and overvalued assets, which the company characterized as a "conservative" estimate. Had the repor
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, or Rio, is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape. Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. In 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire. In 1808, when the Portuguese Royal Court transferred itself from Portugal to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the chosen seat of the court of Queen Maria I of Portugal, who subsequently, in 1815, under the leadership of her son, the Prince Regent, future King João VI of Portugal, raised Brazil to the dignity of a kingdom, within the United Kingdom of Portugal and Algarves.
Rio stayed the capital of the pluricontinental Lusitanian monarchy until 1822, when the War of Brazilian Independence began. This is one of the few instances in history that the capital of a colonising country shifted to a city in one of its colonies. Rio de Janeiro subsequently served as the capital of the independent monarchy, the Empire of Brazil, until 1889, the capital of a republican Brazil until 1960 when the capital was transferred to Brasília. Rio de Janeiro has the second largest municipal GDP in the country, 30th largest in the world in 2008, estimated at about R$343 billion, it is headquarters to Brazilian oil and telecommunications companies, including two of the country's major corporations – Petrobras and Vale – and Latin America's largest telemedia conglomerate, Grupo Globo. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the second-largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific output according to 2005 data. Despite the high perception of crime, the city has a lower incidence of crime than Northeast Brazil, but it is far more criminalized than the south region of Brazil, considered the safest in the country.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, samba, bossa nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana and Leblon. In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Rio de Janeiro was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics, making the city the first South American and Portuguese-speaking city to host the events, the third time the Olympics were held in a Southern Hemisphere city; the Maracanã Stadium held the finals of the 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the XV Pan American Games. Europeans first encountered Guanabara Bay on 1 January 1502, by a Portuguese expedition under explorer Gaspar de Lemos, captain of a ship in Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet, or under Gonçalo Coelho; the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci participated as observer at the invitation of King Manuel I in the same expedition.
The region of Rio was inhabited by the Tupi, Puri and Maxakalí peoples. In 1555, one of the islands of Guanabara Bay, now called Villegagnon Island, was occupied by 500 French colonists under the French admiral Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon. Villegagnon built Fort Coligny on the island when attempting to establish the France Antarctique colony; the city of Rio de Janeiro proper was founded by the Portuguese on 1 March 1565 and was named São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, in honour of St. Sebastian, the saint, the namesake and patron of the Portuguese then-monarch Sebastião. Rio de Janeiro was the name of Guanabara Bay; until early in the 18th century, the city was threatened or invaded by several French pirates and buccaneers, such as Jean-François Duclerc and René Duguay-Trouin. In the late 17th century, still during the Sugar Era, the Bandeirantes discovered gold and diamonds in the neighbouring captaincy of Minas Gerais, thus Rio de Janeiro became a much more practical port for exporting wealth than Salvador, much farther northeast.
On 27 January 1763, the colonial administration in Portuguese America was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro. The city remained a colonial capital until 1808, when the Portuguese royal family and most of the associated Lisbon nobles, fleeing from Napoleon's invasion of Portugal, moved to Rio de Janeiro; the kingdom's capital was transferred to the city, thus, became the only European capital outside of Europe. As there was no physical space or urban structure to accommodate hundreds of noblemen who arrived many inhabitants were evicted from their homes. In the first decades, several educational establishments were created, such as the Military Academy, the Royal School of Sciences and Crafts and the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, as well as the National Library of Brazil – with the largest collection in Latin America – and The Botanical Garden; the first printed newspaper in Brazil, the Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro, came into circulation during this period. When Brazil was elevated to Kingdom in 1815, it
2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and known as Rio 2016, was an international multi-sport event, held from 5 to 21 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, with preliminary events in some sports beginning on 3 August. These were the first Olympic Games to be held in South America and the second to be held in a developing country, after the 1968 games in Mexico City. More than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, including first time entrants Kosovo, South Sudan, the Refugee Olympic Team, took part. With 306 sets of medals, the games featured 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf, which were added to the Olympic program in 2009; these sporting events took place at 33 venues in the host city, at five separate venues in the Brazilian cities of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus. These were the first Summer Olympic Games to take place under the International Olympic Committee presidency of Thomas Bach; the host city Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 October 2009.
Rio became the first South American city to host the Olympic Games. These were the first games to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country, the first summer edition to be held in the host country's winter season, the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America, the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere; the lead-up to these Games was marked by controversies, including the Brazil's political and economic crisis. However, nobody competing in or attending the Olympics contracted the Zika virus and the Games took place without any major incident; the United States topped the medal table, winning the most gold and overall medals, 46 and 121, as well as its 1,000th Summer Olympic gold medal overall. Great Britain finished second and became the first country of modern Olympics history to increase its tally of medals in the subsequent games after being the host nation. China finished third. Host country Brazil won seven gold medals, its most at any single Summer Olympics, finishing in thirteenth place.
Bahrain, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Tajikistan, Ivory Coast and Vietnam each won their first gold medals, as did the group of Independent Olympic Athletes. The process for the 2016 Olympic Games was launched on 16 May 2007; the first step for each city was to submit an initial application to the International Olympic Committee by 13 September 2007, confirming their intention to bid. Completed official bid files, containing answers to a 25-question IOC form, were to be submitted by each 14 January 2008. Four candidate cities were chosen for the shortlist on 4 June 2008: Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and will host again in 2020; the IOC did not promote Doha to the candidature phase, despite scoring higher than selected candidate city Rio de Janeiro, because of their intent of hosting the Olympics in October, outside of the IOC's sporting calendar. Prague and Baku failed to make the cut. Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco headed the 10-member Evaluation Commission, having chaired the evaluation commission for the 2012 Summer Olympics bids.
The commission made on-site inspections in the second quarter of 2009. They issued a comprehensive technical appraisal for IOC members on 2 September, one month before elections. Many restrictions are in place designed to prevent bidding cities from communicating with or influencing directly the 115 voting members. Cities may not invite any IOC member to visit nor may they send anything that could be construed as a gift. Nonetheless, bidding cities invest large sums in their PR and media programs in an attempt to indirectly influence the IOC members by garnering domestic support, support from sports media and general international media; the final voting was held on 2 October 2009, in Copenhagen with Madrid and Rio de Janeiro perceived as favourites to land the games. Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated after the first and second rounds of voting while Rio de Janeiro took a significant lead over Madrid heading into the final round; the lead held and Rio de Janeiro was announced as host of 2016 Summer Olympics.
On 26 June 2011, it was reported on AroundTheRings.com that Roderlei Generali, the COO of the Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, resigned just one year after taking the job at ROOC. This comes. Pestana withdrew during the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Renato Ciuchin was appointed as COO. Events took place at eighteen existing venues, nine new venues constructed for the Games, seven temporary venues; each event was held in one of four geographically segregated Olympic clusters: Barra, Copacabana and Maracanã. The same was done for the 2007 Pan American Games. Several of the venues were located at the Barra Cluster Olympic Park. Athletes could access their venues in shorter than ten minutes and about 75 percent could do so in less than 25 minutes. Of the 34 competition locations, eight of them underwent permanent works, seven were limited, nine were perpetual legacy venues; the largest venue at the games in terms of seating capacity was the 74,738-seat Maracanã Stadium, which served as the ceremonies venue and site of the football finals.
The second largest stadium was the 60,000-seat Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, which hosted track and field events. The athletes' village was said to be the largest in Olympic history. Fittings inc
History of the Jews in Russia
Jews in Russia have constituted a large religious diaspora. Within these territories the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of many different areas flourished and developed many of modern Judaism's most distinctive theological and cultural traditions, while facing periods of anti-Semitic discriminatory policies and persecutions; the largest group among Russian Jews are Ashkenazi Jews, but the community includes a significant proportion of other non-Ashkenazi Diasporan Jewish groups, such as Mountain Jews, Sephardic Jews, Crimean Karaites, Bukharan Jews, Georgian Jews. The presence of Jewish people in the European part of Russia can be traced to the 7th–14th centuries CE. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Jewish population in Kiev, in present-day Ukraine, was restricted to a separate quarter. Evidence of the presence of Jewish people in Muscovite Russia is first documented in the chronicles of 1471. During the reign of Catherine II in the 18th century, Jewish people were restricted to the Pale of Settlement within Russia, the territory where they could live or immigrate to.
Alexander III escalated anti-Jewish policies. Beginning in the 1880s, waves of anti-Jewish pogroms swept across different regions of the empire for several decades. More than two million Jews fled Russia between 1880 and 1920 to the United States and what is today the State of Israel; the Pale of Settlement took away many of the rights that the Jewish people of the late 17th century Russia were experiencing. At this time, the Jewish people were restricted to an area of what is current day Belarus, eastern Poland and Ukraine. Where Western Europe was experiencing emancipation at this time, the laws for the Jewish people were getting more strict; the general attitude towards Jewish people was to look down on the people. It was as a race, something that one could not escape if they tried; the Jewish people were allowed to move further east towards a less crowded population. This was a small change, did not come to all Jewish people, not a small minority of them. In this more spread out area, the Jewish people lived in communities, known as Schtetls.
These communities were similar to what would be known as ghettos in World War II, with the cramped and subpar living conditions. Before 1917 there were 300,000 Zionists in Russia, while the main Jewish socialist organization, the Bund, had 33,000 members. Only 958 Jews had joined the Bolshevik Party before 1917; the chaotic years of World War I, the February and October Revolutions, the Russian Civil War had created social disruption that led to anti-Semitism. Some 150,000 Jews were killed in the pogroms of 1918–1922, 125,000 of them in Ukraine, 25,000 in Belarus; the pogroms were perpetrated by anti-communist forces. After a short period of confusion, the Soviets started executing guilty individuals and disbanding the army units whose men had attacked Jews. Although pogroms were still perpetrated after this by Ukrainian units of the Red Army during its retreat from Poland, in general, the Jews regarded the Red Army as the only force, able and willing to defend them; the Russian Civil War pogroms shocked world Jewry and rallied many Jews to the Red Army and the Soviet regime, strengthened the desire for the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people.
In August 1919 the Soviet government arrested many rabbis, seized Jewish properties, including synagogues, dissolved many Jewish communities. The Jewish section of the Communist Party labeled the use of the Hebrew language "reactionary" and "elitist" and the teaching of Hebrew was banned. Zionists were persecuted harshly, with Jewish communists leading the attacks. Following the civil war, the new Bolshevik government's policies produced a flourishing of secular Jewish culture in Belarus and western Ukraine in the 1920s; the Soviet government outlawed all expressions of anti-Semitism, with the public use of the ethnic slur жид being punished by up to one year of imprisonment, tried to modernize the Jewish community by establishing 1,100 Yiddish-language schools, 40 Yiddish-language daily newspapers and by settling Jews on farms in Ukraine and Crimea. At the beginning of the 1930s, the Jews were 1.8 percent of the Soviet population but 12–15 percent of all university students. In 1934 the Soviet state established the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian Far East, but the region never came to have a majority Jewish population.
Today, the JAO is Russia's only autonomous oblast and, outside of Israel, the world's only Jewish territory with an official status. The observance of the Sabbath was banned in 1929, foreshadowing the dissolution of the Communist Party's Yiddish-language Yevsektsia in 1930 and worse repression to come. Numerous Jews were victimized in Stalin's purges as "counterrevolutionaries" and "reactionary nationalists", although in the 1930s the Jews were underrepresented in the Gulag population; the share of Jews in the Soviet ruling elite declined during the 1930s, but was still more than double their proportion in the general Soviet population. According to Israeli historian Benjamin Pinkus, "We can say that the Jews in the Soviet Union took over the privileged position held by the Germans in tsarist Russia". In the 1930s, many Jews held high rank in the Red Army High Command: Generals Iona Yakir, Yan Gamarnik, Yakov Smushkevich and Grigori Shtern (Commander-in-Chief in the war against Japan
Volleyball is a popular team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules, it has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964. The complete rules are extensive, but play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a'rally' by serving the ball, from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, into the receiving team's court; the receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively; the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court. The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either: a team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent's court and winning the rally.
The team that wins the rally serves the ball to start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include: causing the ball to touch the ground or floor outside the opponents' court or without first passing over the net; the ball is played with the hands or arms, but players can strike or push the ball with any part of the body. A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking and blocking as well as passing and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures. In the winter of 1895, in Holyoke, William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette, a name derived from the game of badminton, as a pastime to be played indoors and by any number of players; the game took some of its characteristics from other sports such as handball. Another indoor sport, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles away in the city of Springfield, only four years before. Mintonette was designed to be an indoor sport, less rough than basketball, for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic effort.
The first rules, written down by William G Morgan, called for a net 6 ft 6 in high, a 25 ft × 50 ft court, any number of players. A match was composed of nine innings with three serves for each team in each inning, no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the ball to the opponents' court. In case of a serving error, a second try was allowed. Hitting the ball into the net was considered a foul —except in the case of the first-try serve. After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in 1896, played at the International YMCA Training School, the game became known as volleyball. Volleyball rules were modified by the International YMCA Training School and the game spread around the country to various YMCAs; the first official ball used in volleyball is disputed. The rules evolved over time: in 1916, in the Philippines, the skill and power of the set and spike had been introduced, four years a "three hits" rule and a rule against hitting from the back row were established.
In 1917, the game was changed from requiring 21 points to win to a smaller 15 points to win. In 1919, about 16,000 volleyballs were distributed by the American Expeditionary Forces to their troops and allies, which sparked the growth of volleyball in new countries; the first country outside the United States to adopt volleyball was Canada in 1900. An international federation, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, was founded in 1947, the first World Championships were held in 1949 for men and 1952 for women; the sport is now popular in Brazil, in Europe, in Russia, in other countries including China and the rest of Asia, as well as in the United States. Beach volleyball, a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team, became a FIVB-endorsed variation in 1987 and was added to the Olympic program at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Volleyball is a sport at the Paralympics managed by the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled. Nudists were early adopters of the game with regular organized play in clubs as early as the late 1920s.
By the 1960s, a volleyball court had become standard in all nudist/naturist clubs. Volleyball has been part of the Summer Olympics program for both men and women since 1964. A volleyball court is 9 m × 18 m, divided into equal square halves by a net with a width of one meter; the top of the net is 2.43 m above the center of the court for men's competition, 2.24 m for women's competition, varied for veterans a
Volleyball Hall of Fame
The International Volleyball Hall of Fame was founded to honor extraordinary players, coaches and leaders who have made significant contributions to the game of volleyball. The Hall of Fame is located in Holyoke, where volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan at the local YMCA. In 1971 the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce established a committee to campaign for the founding of the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts. In 1978, the committee incorporated as Holyoke Volleyball Hall of Fame, Inc. a nonprofit corporation established for the purpose of planning, promoting and maintaining a living memorial to the sport of volleyball. The name of the corporation was changed to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame by resolution of the Board of Directors on July 17, 2014. A small exhibit dedicated to the history of volleyball and the hall of fame's inductees opened in a 1,600 square feet section of the renovated Skinner Mill Warehouse on June 6, 1987 - a building built in 1949 to store silk fabric produced by the famous Skinner Mill in Holyoke.
The mill itself was destroyed by fire in 1980. In 1998, the exhibit was expanded and moved to a permanent 5,000 square feet location in the Skinner Mill Warehouse in downtown Holyoke's Heritage State Park sharing the building with the Holyoke Children's Museum; the IVHF museum now features exhibits honoring each year's inductees, a replica of a full-size volleyball court, sport timelines and unique and meaningful memorabilia of the sport along with an interactive video kiosk, a special inductee display area, a gift shop. In 1985, William G. Morgan was posthumously inducted into the hall as its first member. A total of 140 men and women from 25 countries around the world have since been inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame; the international appeal of the sport explains a shift in the pool of inductees since 1998. Since that time, inductees have come from around the world and contribute to the honoring of the sport and its home in Holyoke; the following tables, pre-sorted chronologically, enumerate all of the inductees to the Volleyball Hall of Fame through 2018.
The following table enumerates all of the inductees to the Volleyball Hall of Fame through 2018. Major achievements in volleyball by nation Fédération Internationale de Volleyball International Volleyball Hall of Fame - official website
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K