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Want to know current interest rates in Peru? How to study Finno-Ugric languages at Tartu University in Estonia? A new Web site set up by the Library of Congress furnishes detailed, up-to-date information on 49 countries, down to the precise form your resume should take if you want to register at the university. By 2003, the project, called ” Portals to the World,” expects to have a Web page for every country on earth. On Afghanistan, it includes a State Department report last month that records a population estimate of 25,853,797 as of July last year. It lists nine main ethnic groups, including the Aimaq and the Kizibash. Life expectancy: 46.62 years, male; 45.1 years, female. Gross national product last year: $3 billion. “The Taliban uses a plain white flag,” it says — a bit of information that may have limited use given the recent routs of Taliban troops. Audrey Fischer, a press officer for the library, said its service does not try to compete with the widely used CIA World Fact Book, which is also on the Web, but does have some links to it. “We also have links to sites within the countries themselves,” she added, “and we have what the countries say about themselves, not just what we have to say about them.” The library said in a statement that its new service includes some links to search engines particular to the country or its language. Sites are now primarily English, but more will be added in other languages. “We expect that it will become one of the very first places that librarians, researchers and the general public turn to for information about the nations of the world,” said Carolyn T. Brown, acting director of the library’s Area Studies Collections. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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