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Today the new moderate government is seeking to secularize political offices and fight corruption. There is a feeling today that most Lebanese are tired of the war and are trying to put their differences behind them as they reconstruct their country, which is currently under Syrian hegemony. Since they have always been at the border between East and West, they often blend easily with the societies to which they migrate. Furniture is often a mixture of Arabic, Italian, European, and American styles.
Most of Lebanon's population lives in the main cities of Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon which are densely populated. Apartments are usually decorated in western style: couches are placed against the walls, end tables are common, and walls are often adorned with framed paintings and tapestries.
The average life expectancy for those born at the end of the twentieth century was 69.35 years.
Whereas at independence, gained in 1943, the population was one-half Christian and one-half Muslim, a higher birth rate among Shiite Muslims upset this balance and was one of the causes of the civil war.
Ninety-five percent of the population is Arab, 4 percent is Armenian, and other ethnic backgrounds comprise the remaining 1 percent.
The birth rate is 27.69 per thousand and the death rate is 6.55 per thousand.
The country's religious diversity has led to the transformation of many religious holidays into national ones.
The Phoenicians are celebrated today in the government-supervised history books as the inventors of the alphabet and as the symbol of Lebanon's golden past.
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Lebanon is bounded on the north and east by Syria, on the west by the Mediterranean, and on the south by Israel.
Lebanon consists of two mountain chains, the Lebanon and the ante-Lebanon; a narrow coastal strip, where all the major cities lie; and a fertile plain, the Bekaa valley, which lies between the two mountain chains and provides most of the local agricultural produce.Later, France gave Lebanon a parliamentary system and, for the first time in the Middle East, created a nation where Christians had a strong political presence: each government office was apportioned to a representative of the country's main sects, with the presidency reserved for the Maronite Christians.