Department of State
The Department of State web site gives up to date fact sheets on countries of the world. http://www.state.gov/misc/list/index.htm
Also, there is a travel tab (Department of State) with a more comprehensive description of each country designed for people who wish to travel to a specific destination: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html (US Department of State. Bureau of Consular Affiars.)
Area Studies or Country Studies: Library of Congress
This Web site contains the online versions of 80 books previously published the Library of Congress as part of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Series. This effort was sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986 to 1998, but Army funding ended in the late 1990s, and the program lapsed. It was temporarily revived in 2004 with congressionally mandated funding. The new funding covered updated editions of five Country Studies as well as a number of shorter Country Profiles (also available on this Web site). The Country Studies Program has now ended.
The Country Studies Series was originally intended to focus primarily on lesser-known areas of the world or regions. Intended for a general audience, the books in the series present a comprehensive description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of select countries throughout the world. Each book was written by a multidisciplinary team of social scientists, who sought to adhere to accepted standards of scholarly objectivity.
CIA World Factbook
This source provides information on the history, people, government, economy and other issues related to countries of the world. The material covered here is found in many "google" searches and resources. For example, Country Watch includes the same information but supplements it with original, more comprehensive articles.