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The British Parliament
is the oldest in the world. It originated in the 12th century as Witenagemot,
the body of wise counselors whom the King needed to consult pursuing his policy.
The British Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons
and the Queen as its head. The House of Commons plays the major role in law-
making. It consists of Members of Parliament (called MPs for short). Each of
them represents an area in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. MPs are elected
either at a general election or at a by-election following the death or
retirement. Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years and it is the Prime
Minister who decides on the exact day of the election. The minimum voting age is
18. And the voting is taken by secret ballot. The election campaign lasts about
3 weeks, The British parliamentary system depends on political parties. The
party which wins the majority of seats forms the government and its leader
usually becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister chooses about 20 MPs from his
party to become the cabinet of ministers. Each minister is responsible for a
particular area in the government. The second largest party becomes the official
opposition with its own leader and shadow cabinet . The leader of the
opposition is a recognized post in the House of Commons. The parliament and the
monarch have different roles in the government and they only meet together on
symbolic occasions, such as coronation of a new monarch or the opening of the
parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the one of three which has true
power. The House of Commons is made up of six hundred and fifty elected members,
it is presided over by the speaker, a member acceptable to the whole house. MPs
sit on two sides of the hall, one side for the governing party and the other for
the opposition. The first 2 rows of seats are occupied by the leading members of
both parties (called front benches ) The back benches belong to the
rank-and-life MPs. Each session of the House of Commons lasts for 160-175 days.
Parliament has intervals during his work. MPs are paid for their parliamentary
work and have to attend the sittings. As mention above, the House of Commons
plays the major role in law making. The procedure is the following: a proposed
law ( a bill ) has to go through three stages in order to become an
act of parliament, these are called readings . The first reading is a
formality and is simply the publication of the proposal. The second reading
involves debate on the principles of the bill, it is examination by
parliamentary comity. And the third reading is a report stage, when the work of
the comity is reported on to the house. This is usually the most important stage
in the process. When the bill passes through the House of Commons, it is sent to
the House of Lords for discussion, when the Lords agree it, the bill is taken to
the Queen for royal assent, when the Queen sings the bill, it becomes act of the
Parliament and the Law of the Land. The House of Lords has more than 1000
members, although only about 250 take an active part in the work in the house.
Members of this Upper House are not elected, they sit there because of their
rank, the chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor. And he sits on
a special seat, called WoolSack The members of the House of Lords
debate the bill after it has been passed by the House of Commons. Some changes
may be recommended and the agreement between the two houses is reached by
negotiations. The United
States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states. Each of which
has its own government ( state government ). In some ways the United
States is like 50 small countries. Each state has its own governor, its own
police and its own laws. The present constitution was proclaimed in 1787 in
Philadelphia, the President is the head of the whole country and the government
and commandeering chief of the armed forces. He makes the most
important decisions and chooses the ministers, the members of his cabinet. But
the President cannot do just what he wants. The Congress must agree first.
Americans choose a new president every four years. The residence of the
President is the White House in Washington, the Capital city. The government of
the whole country (the Federal government) works from Washington, this is where
the Congress is based. The Capitol is the seat of the US Congress. Congress is
the American parliament which consists of 2 chambers. The Senate and the House
of Representatives. The first Congress met in 1789 in New York city. The
membership then consisted of 22 senators and 59 representatives. Today the House
of Representatives has 435 members. Elections to the house take place every 2
years. There are 100 senators (2 from each state), they are elected to serve for
a period of six years, but every two years elections to the senate took place
when one/third of its members must be changed or re-elected. Election day is
always in the month of November, on the first Tuesday, after the first Monday.
Americans who aren't yet 25 years old have no right to be elected to the House
of Representatives. Whose, who are under 30 can't be elected in the Senate. The
main political parties in the United States of America are the Democratic Party
and the Republican Party. Never before in the history of the world have businessmen
traveled so much as they do today. It is not surprising because we are living in
a world of growing international trade and expanding economic and technical
cooperation. Fascinating though it is for tourist travelling, however, has
become the most tiring of all the occupations for many businessmen and experts.
Choosing a comfortable hotel to stay at is, therefore, a matter of some
importance. There are plenty of good hotels, motels, and guest houses, in the
world, conveniently located for major business centers. Many developing
countries, such as India, Egypt, Nigeria, Lybia, etc have excellent hotels.
Their numerous facilities include both: large and small cocktail barber's shops
and conference halls, equipped with simultaneous, multilingual translation
systems. There are parking areas which can accomodate a lot of cars. It might be
useful for travelling businessmen and tourists to know that tailor shops, shoe
repair shops and laundry, dry cleaning services are available for guests. People
in the office help guests to book train or steamer tickets and rent a car. They
are also ready to give all necessary information. Nowadays people who go on
business mostly travel by air as it is the fastest means of travelling.
Passengers are requested to arrive at the airport 2 hours before departure time
on international flights and an hour on domestic flights as there must be enough
time to complete the necessary airport formalities. Passengers must register
their tickets, weigh in and register the luggage. Most airlines have at least 2
classes of travel: first class and economy class which is cheaper. Each
passenger of more than 2 years of age has a free luggage allowance. Generally
this limit is 20kg for economic class passenger and 30kg for first class
passenger. Excess luggage must be paid for except for some articles that can be
carried free of charge. Each passenger is given a boarding pass to be shown at
departure gate and again to the stewardess when boarding the plane. Watch the
electric sign flashes when you are on board, when the Fasten Seat
Belts sign goes on do it promptly and also obey the No Smoking
signal. Do not forget your personal effects when leaving the plane.
There are many
customs and traditions in England. And I would like to tell you some of them.
First tradition is called Wrong side of the bed When people are bad
tempered we say that they must have got out of bed on the wrong side.
Originally, it was meant quiet literally. People believe that the way they rose
in the morning affected their behavior throughout the day. The wrong side of the
bed was the left side. The left always having been linked with evil. Second
custom is called Blowing out the candles The custom of having
candles on birthday cakes goes back to the ancient Greeks. Worshippers of
Artemis, goddess of the moon and hunting, used to place honey cakes on the
altars of her temples on her birthday. The cakes were round like the full moon
and lit with tapers. This custom was next recorded in the middle ages when
German peasants lit tapers on birthday cakes, the number lit indicating the
person's age, plus an extra one to represent the light of life. From earliest
days burning tapers had been endowed with mystical significance and it was
believed that when blown out they had the power to grant a secret wish and
ensure a happy year ahead. And the last tradition I would like to tell you is
called The 5th of November On the 5th of November in almost every
town and village in England you will see fire burning, fireworks, cracking and
lighting up the sky. You will see too small groups of children pulling round in
a home made cart, a figure that looks something like a man but consists of an
old suit of clothes, stuffed with straw. The children will sing: Remember,
remember the 5th of November; Gun powder, treason and plot . And they will
ask passers-by for a penny for the Guy But the children with
the Guy are not likely to know who or what day they are celebrating.
They have done this more or less every 5th of November since 1605. At that time
James the First was on the throne. He was hated with many people especially the
RomanCatholics against whom many sever laws had been passed. A number of
Catholics chief of whom was Robert Catesby determined to kill the King and his
ministers by blowing up the house of Parliament with gunpowder. To help them in
this they got Guy Fawker, a soldier of fortune, who would do the actual work.
The day fixed for attempt was the 5th of November, the day on which the
Parliament was to open. But one of the conspirators had several friends in the
parliament and he didn't want them to die. So he wrote a letter to Lord
Monteagle begging him to make some excuse to be absent from parliament if he
valued his life. Lord Monteagle took the letter hurrily to the King. Guards were
sent at once to examine the cellars of the house of Parliament. And there they
found Guy Fawker about to fire a trail of gunpowder. He was tortured and hanged,
Catesby was killed, resisting arrest in his own house. In memory of that day
bonfires are still lighted, fireworks shoot across the November sky and figures
of Guy Fawker are burnt in the streets. Thomas Jefferson one of the American
President of the past was born in Virginia in 1743. When he was 14 years old,
his father died and the young boy was left to choose for himself what to do.
Jefferson studied literature and languages. He also studied to be a lawyer, and
later he wrote many of the Virginia laws. One of the laws for which he worked
very much was a law to allow many child to go to school free. Schools in America
were only for the children whose parents were rich. When Jefferson was still a
young man he was one of those who wanted freedom from England. His most
outstanding achivment was as chief author of the Declaration of Independence, a
statement of human rights and liberties. It was read to the happy people on the
4th of July, 1776. Jefferson also drew up the constitution for his state,
Virginia, and served as its governor. He was sent to France as the foreign
minister of the United States of America and afterwards was President's
Washington secretary of state. A few years later he became the country's third
president, serving in this position for 2 terms. The author of the Declaration
of Independence did another important thing for the American people. He worked
out a plan for a university where the students and teachers could live and work
together in a village build for them. It was one of the first schools to teach
science. Today, it is the university of Virginia. This well known man was also a
self-taught architect. He introduced the simple classical design to America when
he designed the Virginia State Capital Building. He also designed his own home,
he remained the most influential architect of his time. Thomas Jefferson did
many useful things during his life time and he always thought of how to help
ordinary people. He was a practical and theoretical scientist too. Jefferson's
best traditions have been kept up by American progressive people in their
struggle for peace and democracy. The English people like animals very much. Pet:
dogs, cats, horses, ducks, canaries, chickens and other friends of men have a
much better life in Britain, than anywhere else. In Britain they have special
dog shops, selling food, clothes and other things for dogs. There are dog hair-
dressing saloons and dog cemeteries. The English arrange dogs' shows and
organize dogs' supper parties for winners of dogs' competitions. They do all
they can to make animals feel well in their home and outside their homes too.
There were photographs in English newspapers of a mother duck and her young
family, crossing slowly the road from Hyde Park to Kensington Garden. All
traffic around was stopped to let Mamma Duck and her little ones walked quietly
from one park to another. In recent years the English began to show love for
more exotic animals such as crocodiles, elephants, tigers, cobras, camels. You
won't be surprised, we think, when we tell you that London Airport has a special
animal hotel . Every year thousands of animals arrive at London
Airport, some stay the night there; others stay several weeks. In one month, for
example, the hotel looked after 47000 creatures: birds, insects,
fish, elephants, monkey and other animals. There are about 4000000 dogs, 6000000
cats, 8000000 caged birds and lots of other animals in Britain. The English
people believe that they are the only nation on the Earth that is really kind to
its animals. The city
of Washington, the capital of the United States of America is located in the
District of Columbia (DC for short) Many people consider Washington DC to be one
of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is filled with many parks, wide
streets and impressive buildings. In the centre of the city, in Capitol Park,
visitors' eyes focus on the Capitol, where Congress convince to inect laws. Many
visitors come to Washington DC to see the White House. It is the greatest
attraction for many of them. The White House, the official residence of the
President, is situated at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The largest room in
this building of over the hundreds room is the East Room, scene of many state
receptions, balls and musicals. Other famous rooms are: the Green Room, the Blue
Room, the Red Room, which are used for afternoon teas and for receptions held
before state dinners. The Blue Room, the most formal of these colors
room is an oval-shaped room connecting the Green and the Red Rooms. On the
second floor, the floor with the family quarters and quests rooms, is the
Lincoln Room, which one served as an office for president Lincoln but today
serves as an honor guest room. In this room Lincoln signed the emancipation
proclamation of 1863. Other landmarks in Washington DC include memorials to
three Presidents: The Washington Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial and The
Jefferson Memorial; The Library of Congress, The National Gallery of Art, The
John F. Kennedy center for the Performing Arts. The Capitol is in the very
center of Washington. It is located on the Capitol Hill, the highest point in
the city. The Capitol is the highest building in Washington. There is a law in
Washington not to build buildings higher than the Capitol. The corner stone of
the Capitol was laid by George Washington on Sep 18th, 1793. The Capitol is the
seat of the government of the United States of America.

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