Kiribati is an independent republic which consists of three groups, the Gilbert, Line and Phoenix, and Christmas island groups. It consists of 33 low lying coral atolls. The country became a republic in 1979. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati with the population of approximately 84, 494 mostly Micronesians.
Kiribati is a sovereign, democratic state with a 42 member Maneaba ni Maungatabu (House of parliament), elected every foour years. The Beretitenti (President) is elected from among three or four candidates nominated by the Maneaba from its ranks. The Beretitenti chooses a twelve-member cabinet from the Maneaba. The country is member of the commonwealth and adopts the Westminster model of government.
The country's economy is predominantly subsistence, with copra, seaweed and fisheries the main source of foreign exchange earnings. Revenue from the licensing of foreign vessels in the Kiribati Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contributes some $2-3 million per annum. Tourism plays a fairly modest role in the Gilbert but the Northern Line Islands especially Chrismas island, tourism has a high priority.
Kiribati is located in the Central Pacific between 173 and 177 East Longitude and 4 North and 3 South Latitude. From North to South, a distance of only 800km, however, the distance east to west is more than 321 km.
Kiribati is 12 hours ahead of MGT that is, 2 ahead of Tokyo and 22 hours ahead of Honolulu, on the other side of the International dateline.
Temperature varies between 25 and 33C and 50 to 63 percent of the annual possible sunshine of 4134 hours. The wet season extends from December to May and rainfall variation is high in most of the islands. A gentle breeze from the easterly quarter is predominant.
The main or official language of the country is, I-Kiribati - the national language mostly used by locals. On the capital Tarawa, English is widely understood but less so in the outer islands.
There are two source of public transportation available on the south Tarawa island, taxis and public buses. Boats, ferries, and regular scheduled flights are available to transport to and from the outer islands.