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Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united... See More



 Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania

Geographic Coordinates:

 1 00 N, 38 00 E


 Total: 580,367 sq km
Land: 569,140 sq km
Water: 11,227 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly more than twice the size of Nevada

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 3,477 km
Border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, South Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km


 536 km (Rank: 103)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


 Varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior


 Low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m

Natural Resources:

 Limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 8.01%
Permanent crops: 0.97%
Other: 91.02% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 1,030 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 30.2 cu km (1990)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 1.58 cu km/yr (30%/6%/64%)
Per capita: 46 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

Volcanism: Kenya experiences limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (elev. 1,032 m) last erupted in 1921; South Island is the only other historically active volcano

Environment - Current Issues:

 Water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value

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 Noun: Kenyan(s)
Adjective: Kenyan

Ethnic Groups:

 Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%


 English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages


 Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 10%, other 2%

Note: a large majority of Kenyans are Christian, but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely


 41,070,934 (July 2011 est.)

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 8,730,845/female 8,603,270)
15-64 years: 55.1% (male 11,373,997/female 11,260,402)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 497,389/female 605,031) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.9 years
Male: 18.8 years
Female: 19 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.462% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 33.54 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 8.93 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 22% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 NAIROBI (capital) 3.375 million; Mombassa 966,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 530 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 52.29 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 55.03 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 49.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 59.48 years
Male: 58.91 years
Female: 60.07 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.19 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 12.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2002)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 83% of population
Rural: 52% of population
Total: 59% of population
Urban: 17% of population
Rural: 48% of population
Total: 41% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 27% of population
Rural: 32% of population
Total: 31% of population
Urban: 73% of population
Rural: 68% of population
Total: 69% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 6.3% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 1.5 million (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 80,000 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria and Rift Valley fever
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 16.5% (2003)

Education Expenditures:

 7% of GDP (2006)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 85.1%
Male: 90.6%
Female: 79.7% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2009)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
Conventional short form: Kenya
Local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya
Local short form: Kenya
Former: British East Africa

Government Type:



 Name: Nairobi
Geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E
Time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 7 provinces and 1 area*; Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area*, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western; note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 designates 47 yet-to-be-defined counties as first-order administrative units


 12 December 1963 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 12 December (1963); Madaraka Day, 1 June; Mashujaa Day, 20 October


 27 August 2010; the new constitution abolishes the position of prime minister and establishes a bicameral legislature; many details have yet to be finalized and will require significant legislative action

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in High Court

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Stephen Kalonzo MUSYOKA (since 10 January 2008);

Head of government: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Stephen Kalonzo MUSYOKA (since 10 January 2008); Prime Minister Raila Amolo ODINGA (since 17 April 2008); note - according to the 2008 powersharing agreement the role of the prime minister was not well defined; constitutionally, the president remains chief of state and head of government, but the prime minister is charged with coordinating government business

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and chaired by the prime minister, who is the leader of the largest party in parliament

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); in addition to receiving the largest number of votes in absolute terms, the presidential candidate must also win 25% or more of the vote in at least five of Kenya's seven provinces and one area to avoid a runoff; election last held on 27 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2012); vice president appointed by the president; note - the new constitution sets elections for August 2011 but this date is expected to slip

Election results: President Mwai KIBAKI reelected; percent of vote - Mwai KIBAKI 46%, Raila ODINGA 44%, Kalonzo MUSYOKA 9%, other 3.4%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly or Bunge usually referred to as Parliament (224 seats; 210 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms, 12 nominated members appointed by the president but selected by the parties in proportion to their parliamentary vote totals, 2 ex-officio members); note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 changes the legislature to a bicameral parliament consisting of a 290 member National Assembly and a 94 member Senate; parliament members will serve five year terms

Elections: last held on 27 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2012)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ODM 99, PNU 46, ODM-K 16, KANU 14 other 35; ex-officio 2; seats appointed by the president - ODM 6, PNU 3, ODM-K 2, KANU 1

Judicial Branch:

 Court of Appeal (chief justice is appointed by the president); High Court; note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 specifies three superior courts consisting of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and High Court, and three subordinate courts consisting of Magistrate courts, Kadhis courts (sentences according to Muslim law), and Courts Martial

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya or FORD-Kenya [Musikari KOMBO]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-People [Reuben OYONDI]; Kenya African National Union or KANU [Uhuru KENYATTA]; National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya or NARC-Kenya [Martha KARUA]; Orange Democratic Movement or ODM [Raila ODINGA]; Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya or ODM-K [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]; Party of National Unity or PNU [Mwai KIBAKI]; Shirikisho Party of Kenya or SPK [Chirau Ali MWAKWERE]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Council of Islamic Preachers of Kenya or CIPK [Sheikh Idris MOHAMMED]; Kenya Human Rights Commission [L. Muthoni WANYEKI]; Muslim Human Rights Forum [Ali-Amin KIMATHI]; National Muslim Leaders Forum or NAMLEF [Abdullahi ABDI]; Protestant National Council of Churches of Kenya or NCCK [Canon Peter Karanja MWANGI]; Roman Catholic and other Christian churches; Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims or SUPKEM [Shaykh Abdul Gafur al-BUSAIDY]
Other: labor unions

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Elkanah ODEMBO Absalom
Chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
Consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador J. Scott GRATION
Embassy: US Embassy, United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; P. O. Box 606 Village Market, Nairobi 00621
Mailing address: Box 21A, Unit 64100, APO AE 09831
Telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000
FAX: [254] (20) 363-410

Flag Description:

 Three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large Maasai warrior's shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center; black symbolizes the majority population, red the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green stands for natural wealth, and white for peace; the shield and crossed spears symbolize the defense of freedom

National Symbols:


National Anthem:

 Name: "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (Oh God of All Creation)
Lyrics/music: Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE/traditional, adapted by Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE

Note: adopted 1963; the anthem is based on a traditional Kenyan folk song

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Economy - Overview:

 Although the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through a drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. In the key December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. After some early progress in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support, the KIBAKI government was rocked by high-level graft scandals in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, the World Bank and IMF delayed loans pending action by the government on corruption. The international financial institutions and donors have since resumed lending, despite little action on the government's part to deal with corruption. Post-election violence in early 2008, coupled with the effects of the global financial crisis on remittance and exports, reduced GDP growth to 1.7 in 2008, but the economy rebounded in 2009-10.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $66.03 billion (2010 est.)
$62.9 billion (2009 est.)
$61.31 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $32.16 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 5% (2010 est.)
2.6% (2009 est.)
1.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,600 (2010 est.)
$1,600 (2009 est.)
$1,600 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 22%
Industry: 16%
Services: 62% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 17.9 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 75%
Industry and services: 25% (2007 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 40% (2008 est.)
40% (2001 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 50% (2000 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 1.8%
Highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 42.5 (2008 est.)
44.9 (1997)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 173,702 (Somalia); 73,004 (Sudan); 16,428 (Ethiopia)
IDPs: 250,000-400,000 (2007 post-election violence; KANU attacks on opposition tribal groups in 1990s) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 19.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $7.016 billion
Expenditures: $9.043 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 21.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -6.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 47.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
47.1% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 4% (2010 est.)
9.2% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 7% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 14.37% (31 December 2010 est.)
14.8% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $6.068 billion (31 December 2008)
$5.912 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $5.468 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.464 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $7.148 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.833 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $15.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$13.77 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $16.12 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$13.44 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $14.46 billion (31 December 2010)
$10.76 billion (31 December 2009)
$10.92 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 Tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs


 Small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, horticulture, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 4% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 6.79 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 17.7%
Hydro: 71%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 11.3% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 5.738 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 41 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 16 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 136 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 78,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 8,061 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 80,160 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$2.024 billion (2010 est.)
-$1.661 billion (2009 est.)


 $5.22 billion (2010 est.)
$4.502 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement

Exports - Partners:

 Uganda 10.1%, Tanzania 9.8%, UK 8.8%, Netherlands 8.2%, US 5.8%, Egypt 4.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.3% (2010)


 $11.2 billion (2010 est.)
$9.492 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics

Imports - Partners:

 China 13.6%, India 13.4%, UAE 9.7%, South Africa 8.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Japan 4.7% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $4.321 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.85 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $8.465 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$8.005 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $306.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$288.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $2.262 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.129 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Kenyan Shilling to Any Currency

Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar -
79.217 (2010)
77.352 (2009)
68.358 (2008)
68.309 (2007)
72.101 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 460,100 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 24.969 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: inadequate; fixed-line telephone system is small and inefficient; trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; business data commonly transferred by a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system

Domestic: sole fixed-line provider, Telkom Kenya, is slated for privatization; multiple providers in the mobile-cellular segment of the market fostering a boom in mobile-cellular telephone usage with teledensity reaching 50 per 100 persons in 2009

International: country code - 254; The East Africa Marine System (TEAMS) and the SEACOM undersea fiber-optic cable systems; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat

Broadcast Media:

 About a half-dozen privately-owned TV stations and a state-owned television broadcaster that operates 2 channels; satellite and cable TV subscription services are available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates 2 national radio channels and provides regional and local radio services in multiple languages; a large number of private radio broadcasters, including provincial stations broadcasting in local languages; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 24, FM 82, shortwave 6 (2008)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 8 (2008)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 47,676 (2010)

Internet Users:

 3.996 million (2009)

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 191 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 17
Over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 6
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 174
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 107
Under 914 m: 55 (2010)


 Oil 4 km; refined products 928 km (2010)


 Total: 2,066 km
Narrow gauge: 2,066 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)


 Total: 160,886 km
Paved: 11,197 km
Unpaved: 149,689 km (2008)


 (the only significant inland waterway in the country is the part of Lake Victoria within the boundaries of Kenya; Kisumu is the main port and has ferry connections to Uganda and Tanzania) (2010)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 1
By type: petroleum tanker 1
Registered in other countries: 5 (Comoros 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Tuvalu 1, unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Kisumu, Mombasa

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Military Branches:

 Kenya Armed Services: Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, Kenya Air Force (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-26 years of age for male and female voluntary service (under 18 with parental consent), with a 9-year obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy); applicants must be Kenyan citizens and provide a national identity card (obtained at age 18) and a school-leaving certificate; women serve under the same terms and conditions as men; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 9,768,140
Females age 16-49: 9,466,257 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 6,361,268
Females age 16-49: 6,106,870 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 422,104
Female: 416,927 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 2.8% of GDP (2006)

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Disputes - International:

 Kenya served as an important mediator in brokering Sudan's north-south separation in February 2005; Kenya provides shelter to almost a quarter of a million refugees, including Ugandans who flee across the border periodically to seek protection from Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels; Kenya works hard to prevent the clan and militia fighting in Somalia from spreading across the border, which has long been open to nomadic pastoralists; the boundary that separates Kenya's and Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times

Illicit Drugs:

 Widespread harvesting of small plots of marijuana; transit country for South Asian heroin destined for Europe and North America; Indian methaqualone also transits on way to South Africa; significant potential for money-laundering activity given the country's status as a regional financial center; massive corruption, and relatively high levels of narcotics-associated activities

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Last Updated: December 2011

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