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We are reminded on a daily basis that the natural environment in which we live is vitally important for our well-being, whether it is in the form of climate change, global warming, declining fertility or dwindling natural resources.

Great Britain formally acquired Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both world wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964; a decade later it declared itself a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination while its key industries moved toward more service-oriented activities. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began using the euro as currency in 2008.

Malta is a parliamentary republic.

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