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Siberia is the Asian area of Russia. Siberia makes up two-thirds of Russia, but only 20 percent of Russia's population lives here. The climate is often very harsh. Ice and snow cover the land about six months each year. Permafrost covers much Siberia. Even though Siberia has large amounts of natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, and oil, the climate makes it very difficult to mine these minerals.      Manufacturing
Himalayas        The southwestern region of Asia is often called the Middle East. Religion plays a large role in Middle Eastern culture. Over 90 percent of the population practices Islam and most people in the Middle East are Arab Muslims. About half of the population in the Middle East now lives in cities, while the other half still lives in rural villages or are nomadic herders. In Middle Eastern cities, you can find people wearing traditional robes and head cloths next to people in Western-style clothing. The status of urban women in the Middle East has improved. Today, many women hold jobs in government, business, and education, whereas before women were forced to stay home.
Natural resources are very important to Asia's economy. Raw minerals such as oil are among the most valuable exports. Asia supplies most of the world's oil. Oil production occurs mainly in Southwest Asia in countries near the Persian Gulf and near the Caspian Sea. Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iran are among the world's leading oil producers.     Ganges