Political system

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Dátum: 15.07.2013
Jazyk: Angličtina
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Political system
 
United Kingdom
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the head of state. Britain is divided into four parts :
- England - London
-Wales - Cardiff
- Scotland -Edinburgh
- Northern Ireland - Belfast
The Constitution of the UK is unwritten, it is based on custom, tradition and common law.
The supreme law-making body in the country is Parliament. It consists of: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. British parliamentary system is one of the oldest in the world, it developed slowly during 13th century after King John’s signature of Magna Charta in 1215.
The Commons has 650 elected and paid Members of Parliament (MPs) – 523 from England, 72 from Scotland, 38 from Wales and 17 from Northern Ireland. The lords is made up of hereditary and life peers (Lords Temporal), 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England (Lords Spiritual).
The major part of the Parliament´s work is revising the Government´s work. On the first day when the Parliament session is open the Queen reads a speech that outlines the Government´s policy. This opening ceremony takes place in the House of Lords. Another important parliamentary task is law-making. A proposal of some new law – a bill must pass through both Houses and then is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent. General elections to choose MPs are every five years. Voting is not compulsory and is from the age of 18. The Government is formed by the party which has the majority in Parliament and the Queen appoints its leader as the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appoints a team of main minister as the Cabinet (about 20 people) who take decisions on major policy. The second largest party forms the official Opposition with its own leader and “shadow cabinet”.
 
The United States of America
  The USA with the President as the head of state is a federation of 50 states with 48 on the continent, Alaska in the North and Hawaii in the Mid-Pacific some 3,800 km south-west of San Francisco. There is also one district, D.C. – District of Columbia – it means the land of Columbus – this territory is not a state, the state capitol is situated here.
  The system of Federal Government of the United States was established by the Constitution which was ratified in 1788 and which consists of the Preamble, Articles I-VII, and 26 Amendments to the Constitution. No law can be passed which would be unconstitutional – it would contradict the Constitution. Under the system of check and balances, the federal Government is composed of three branches – the Legislative (both houses of Congress), the Executive (the President and the Executive office), and the Judicial (the Supreme Court and all other Federal courts). Congress comprises two bodies: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is composed of 100 Senators, two for each of the fifty states in the Union. Senators are elected to six-year terms by popular vote, however every second year one third of the Senators is renewed. The Vice President is the official presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate’s specific duties include approving presidential appointments, ratifying foreign treaties by a two-thirds majority, and trying a President who has been impeached by the House. The House of Representatives is composed of 435 members with the number of Representatives per state based on population. California has the greatest number of Representatives (45). Members of the House serve two-year terms. The yare responsible for originating all bill relating to taxes, impeaching (charging a President with criminal actions), determining the outcome of a presidential election if there is no clear electoral majority. Today, the major parties are Democratic and Republican.
  The President and Vice President are the only elected officials of the Executive branch. Presidential elections are held every four years, and a President may now serve a maximum of two four-year terms in office. The President serves as Commander-in chief of the Armed Forces, with ultimate control over the defence of the nation. However, a declaration of was must be made by Congress. He also appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls.
  The smallest and most independent of the three branches are courts –Federal district courts, US courts of appeal and the US Supreme Court (focuses its attention on cases that call into question the constitutional nature of existing laws).
  The model of Federal Government is also applied to the governments of the individual state. On the state level, each branch deals with the state laws distinct from the deferral ones.

Canada
Canada is an independent federal parliamentary system with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. She is represented in Canada by the Governor-General.
  The country´s supreme body is the Federal Parliament consisting of two houses. The House of Commons is elected every 5 years. The Senate consists of senators appointed by Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The leading figure in political life is the Prime Minister.
Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 2 territories. The capital of Canada is Ottawa. The biggest city is Toronto. Other large cities are Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Quebec.
Canada has its national flag since 1964. It is red and in the centre there is a white square with a simple red maple leaf. The white stripes are symbolic of Canada´s position between two oceans.  A maple leaf has been used as Canada´s national symbol for the past century or more. Red colour symbolizes the blood of the Canadians who had died in WWI, white represents the snow of the Canadian North.
 
Australia
The official title is The Commonwealth of Australia and it is a British dominion. It has a democratic, federal system and the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II represented by the Governor-General. The head of government is the Prime Minister.
The commonwealth of Australia consists of 6 states and 2 territories. The Australian Capital Territory is a part of the country surrounding Australia´s capital Canberra, which had been chosen and built up as the capital of the whole Country.
  The Federal Parliament has its seat in Canberra and is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  Australian national flag consists of the British Flag symbol and a larger blue filed in which 5 stars are arranged in the form of the Southern Cross constellation. The large white star under the British Union Jack symbolizes 6 Australian states and 1 territory.
New Zealand
 
New Zealand has a parliamentary system where the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II represented by the Governor General. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The country is divided into counties. The capital is Wellington, other big cities are Manakau, Christchurch and Auckland.
  The flag consists of the British Union Jack in the left upper corner and 4 red stars in the Southern Cross constellation.
 
FLAGS AND ANTHEMS
 
United Kingdom
British national flag is sometimes called “Union Jack”. It symbolizes the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland. It dates back from 1801. The origin of the name is uncertain. “Jack” was first used in the British Navy as the name of the flag at the main masthead.
Each country has its cross in the flag:
  - England has St. George´s Cross (white oblong and read cross)
  - Scotland has St. Andrew´s Cross (blue with white diagonal)
  - Ireland has St. Patrick´s Cross (white with red diagonal)
National anthem is “God Save the Queen!”
 
Each part has its symbol
- England – red rose
-Wales – leek daffodil
- Scotland -thistle
- Northern Ireland - shamrock
 
The United States of America
The American flag consists of two parts – one smaller blue oblong with 50 white stars symbolizing 50 American states and one larger oblong consisting of 6 white and 7 red stripes symbolizing the original 13 states which used to be the British colonies. The flag is sometimes called “Old Glory” or “Stars and Stripes”. The first US flag was created in 1776.
  The American national anthem is called “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
 
INTERESTING PLACES
 
United Kingdom
Besides London, which is the centre of each tourist´s attention, there are many other fascinating places.
OXFORD and CAMBRIDGE are the old university towns.
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON is the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
The English countryside is full fop easeful harbour-towns with fishing boats, yachts, cottages and eh English like to spend their holidays here. Resorts such as BRIGHTON, BOURNEMOUTH, PORTSMOUTH, BLACKPOOL, SUNDERLAND, SCARBOROUGH have fine sandy beaches and a nice atmosphere.
Southern par of England is full of historical monuments and romantic sceneries. CANTENBURY is and ancient city with majestic cathedral.
  THE LAKE DISTRICT National Park with beautiful Windermere Lake is the region where romantic poet Coleridge and Wordworth wrote their poetry. Now this area is popular with mountaineers, painters, and tourists. The lakes are good for water sports.
Scotland is the land of many special traditions which cannot be found elsewhere in the world – playing the pipes, woollen knitwear, wearing kilts made of tartan, Scotch whisky (it derives its name from the Gaelic word “uisge beatha” meaning “the water of life”).
The biggest city is GLASGOW, and Old Victorian town, the cultural centre and the heart of the arts in Scotland.
The north of the country is a large and magnificent lake and mountains area. The biggest lake is Loch Lomond (lakes are called lochs in Scotland) and Loch Ness is famous for its “Loch Ness Monster”.
 
The United States of America
Besides the US capital and New York there are many places worth seeing, such as many national parts and large urban areas.
  On western coast the most well-known places are Los Angeles and san Francisco.
  LOS ANGELES is the second largest. Here we can find the famous film centre Hollywood and luxurious quarters (Beverly Hills). Each year in April the American Film Academy awards Oscars for the best film for the year. LA is also the centre of crime. LA university is called California Technology Institute. There is an important space research centre and developed car industry. The biggest ZOO in the world is here.
  SAN FRANCISCO, one of the cleanest and most picturesque cities is the victim of frequent earthquakes. It has several quarters (Chinatown here is the largest settlement outside Asia). SF is famous for its hilly relief and a cable car going through its streets. Berkley University is here.
  In the South there are following important centres: NEW ORLEANS is the city where jazz was born and where the Mississippi flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Steamboats on the river make a unique sight of this region. HOUSTON with the NASA centre and Johnson Space Centre. Florida is mainly a tourist area with long beaches on Miami. North of Miami there is Cape Canaveral where spaceships are launched off.
  CHICAGO lies on the banks of Lake Michigan. In Chicago the first skyscraper was built in 1882 – Montank Block (39,5m). Chicago is the centre of steel and iron industries.
  DETROIT is the centre of US car industry (Pontiac, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Cadillac).
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