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Occupying a very small total land mass it is scattered over an ocean expanse five times the size of France.
Though formally independent in 1986 Micronesia signed a "Compact of Free Association" with the US. Under this Washington took on responsibility for defence and gained the right to set up military bases and deny other nations access to Micronesia.
In return Micronesia received financial assistance averaging $100m per year and the right of Micronesians to live and work in the US. Micronesia also takes its cue from Washington on foreign policy.
A renegotiated 20-year compact worth $3.5 billion to Micronesia and the Marshall Islands was signed by US President George W Bush in December 2003. Some of the money is being diverted into trust funds intended to provide a financial resource for Micronesia after the compact expires.
Despite its small population and the large amount of incoming aid from the US Japan and elsewhere Micronesia has relatively high unemployment a matter compounded by increasing numbers of Filipino migrant workers.
A Chuukese woman is escorted by two volunteers after receiving treatment from the humanitarian assistance rapid response team during a validation exercise Sept. 3, 2009, on Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Many Micronesians live without electricity or running water which is in short supply and is sometimes rationed. The gap between rich and poor is increasing as businessmen and officials benefit disproportionately from US aid donations.
Micronesia's biggest challenge is to find a way of lessening its dependence on foreign aid. Given the islands' splendid beaches
and scuba diving opportunities tourism offers one possibility but
this is constrained by the lack of adequate infrastructure and the islands' remoteness.
President: Emanuel "Manny" Mori
Emanuel "Manny" Mori was chosen as the country's seventh president in May 2007 defeating the incumbent Joseph Urusemal. The president is elected every four years by the congress.
Mr Mori is from Chuuk the largest and most populous state in the four-state federation.
He was the executive vice president of the Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia from 1997 until his election as a senator in 1999. Apart from working as a banker he also worked in the civil service.
Mr Mori is of Japanese descent. He is married and has four daughters.
Weno, Chuuk Atoll (formerly Truk), Micronesia.
Micronesia has no daily newspaper but the federal government publishes a fortnightly information bulletin and each of the constituent state governments produces its own newsletter.
The state governments and a religious organisation operate radio stations and cable TV is available on Pohnpei and Chuuk.
V6AK - Chuuk
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