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Introduction - Timor-Leste:
BackgroundThe Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Timor-Leste from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. Timor-Leste declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor-Leste. An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force in late September 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. The majority of the countrys infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the countrys electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In March of 2006, a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order. Over 2,000 Australian, New Zealand, and Portuguese police and peacekeepers deployed to Timor-Leste in late May. Although many of the peacekeepers were replaced by UN police officers, 850 Australian soldiers remained as of 1 January 2007.
Location - Timor-Leste:
LocationSoutheastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map referencesSoutheast Asia
Areatotal: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundariestotal: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Coastline706 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Elevation extremeslowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resourcesgold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land usearable land: 8.2%
permanent crops: 4.57%
other: 87.23% (2005)
Irrigated land1,065 sq km (est.)
Natural hazardsfloods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment current issueswidespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment international agreementsparty to: Climate Change, Desertification
Geography noteTimor comes from the Malay word for East; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
People - Timor-Leste:
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 35.7% (male 196,825/female 190,454)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 337,816/female 325,094)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 16,823/female 17,959) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 21.1 years
male: 21.2 years
female: 21.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.059% (2007 est.)
Birth rate26.77 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate6.19 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.033 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.039 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.937 male(s)/female
total population: 1.034 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 44.46 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 50.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 66.6 years
male: 64.28 years
female: 69.04 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate3.45 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rateNA
Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsNA
Hiv aids deathsNA
Nationalitynoun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groupsAustronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
ReligionsRoman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1% (2005)
LanguagesTetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2002)
Government - Timor-Leste:
Country nameconventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: Timor-Leste
local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosae [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
local short form: Timor Lorosae [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former: Portuguese Timor
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Dili
geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Independence28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Lestes independence from Indonesia
National holidayIndependence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal systemUN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but are to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated; has not accepted compulsury ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage17 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Jose RAMOS-HORTA (since 20 May 2007); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections
head of government: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 8 August 2007), note - he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO; Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis GUTERRES (since 8 August 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 9 April 2007 with run-off on 8 May 2007 (next be be held in May 2012); following elections, president appoints leader of majority party or majority coalition as prime minister
election results: Jose RAMOS-HORTA elected president; percent of vote - Jose RAMOS-HORTA 69.2%, Francisco GUTTERES 30.8%
Legislative branchunicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary from 52 to 65; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 June 2007 (next elections to be held in June 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - FRETILIN 29%, CNRT 24.1%, ASDT-PSD 15.8%, PD 11.3%, PUN 4.5%, KOTA-PPT (Democratic Alliance) 3.2%, UNTERDIM 3.2%, others 8.9%; seats by party - FRETILIN 21, CNRT 18, ASDT-PSD 11, PD 8, PUN 3, KOTA-PPT 2, UNDERTIM 2
Judicial branchSupreme Court of Justice - constitution calls for one judge to be appointed by National Parliament and rest appointed by Superior Council for Judiciary; note - until Supreme Court is established, Court of Appeals is highest court
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Xanana GUSMAO]; National Democratic Union of Timorese Resistance or UNDERTIM [Cornelio DA Conceicao GAMA]; National Unity Party or PUN [Fernanda BORGES]; Peoples Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Francisco Guterres Lu OLO]; Social Democratic Association of Timor or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors or KOTA [Clementino dos Reis AMARAL] (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes)
International organization participationACP, ARF, AsDB, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires Constancio PINTO
chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: 202 966-3202
FAX: 202 966-3205
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Hans G. KLEMM
embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Conqueiros, Dili
mailing address: US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone: (670) 332-4684
FAX: (670) 331-3206
Flag descriptionred, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; there is a white star in the center of the black triangle
Economy - Timor-Leste:
Economy overviewIn late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 300,000 people fled westward. Over the next three years, however, a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By the end of 2005, all refugees either returned or resettled in Indonesia. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure, strengthening the infant civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in nearby waters has begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations - the result of high petroleum prices - but the technology-intensive industry does little to create jobs for the unemployed, because there are no production facilities in Timor and the gas is piped to Australia. The parliament in June 2005 unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of Timor-Lestes petroleum wealth for future generations. The mid-2006 outbreak of violence and civil unrest disrupted both private and public sector economic activity. Real non-oil GDP growth in 2006 is estimated to have been negative. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and reduce poverty.
Gdp purchasing power parity $370 million (2004 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $349 million (2005)
Gdp real growth rate1.8% (2005 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $800 (2005 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 8.5%
industry: 23.1%
services: 68.4% (2004)
Labor forceNA
Labor force by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate50% estimated; note - unemployment in urban areas reached 20%; data do not include underemployed (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income gini index38 (2002 est.)
Inflation rate consumer prices 1.4% (2005)
Budgetrevenues: $107.7 million
expenditures: $73 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2004 est.)
Agriculture productscoffee, rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Industriesprinting, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate8.5%
Electricity productionNA kWh
Electricity consumptionNA kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Exports$10 million; note - excludes oil (2005 est.)
Exports commoditiescoffee, sandalwood, marble; note - potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports partnersIndonesia 100% (2006)
Imports$202 million (2004 est.)
Imports commoditiesfood, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
Economic aid recipient$153 million (2004 est.)
Currency code US dollar (USD)
Exchange ratesthe US dollar is used
Communications - Timor-Leste:
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June
Telephones main lines in use12,000 est. (2007)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: rudimentary service limited to urban areas
domestic: fixed and wireless service available; system suffered significant damage during the violence associated with independence
international: country code - 670; international service is available in major urban centers
Radio broadcast stationsat least 1 (Timor-Leste has a state-run media oversight authority that oversees at least 1 radio station - frequency type NA)
Television broadcast stations1 (East Timor has a state-run media oversight authority that oversees at least 1 television station)
Internet country code.tl; note - ICANN approved the change from .tp in January 2005
Internet hosts68 (2006)
Internet users1,000 (2004)
Transportation - Timor-Leste:
Airports8 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Heliports9 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 5,000 km
paved: 2,500 km
unpaved: 2,500 km (2005)
Ports and terminalsDili
Military - Timor-Leste:
Military branchesTimor-Leste Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-Leste, FDTL): Army, Navy (Armada) (2005)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 235,198
females age 18-49: 223,069 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 179,422
females age 18-49: 184,533 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 12,740
females age 18-49: 12,438 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsIDPs: 150,000 (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdpNA
Disputes internationalTimor-Leste-Indonesia Boundary Committee has resolved all but a small portion of the land boundary, but discussions on maritime boundaries are stalemated over sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai in the north and alignment with Australian claims in the south; many refugees who left Timor-Leste in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and Timor-Leste agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for 50 years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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