Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Years in prison Lin Hai, a Shanghai businessman, was sentenced to for distributing 30,000 e-mail addresses to the pro-democracy group VIP Reference: 2

Number of Russian journalists murdered in the course of their work last year: 10

Number of haemophiliacs in the US, Canada, Switzerland, France and Japan who were infected with HIV by blood or plasma transfusions in the Eighties: 3 million

Number of haemophiliacs infected with HIV in the Eighties dying every day in the US: 2

Percentage of homeless in the US who are war veterans: 40

Amount the US owes the UN in back dues and unpaid peacekeeping expenses: $1.5bn

Percentage of Americans polled by CNN and Time in 1997 who believed the US government was hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life: 80

Number of people who have been in space: 382

Percentage of foreign exchange transactions in 1969 which were related to trade and long-term investments: 90

Percentage of foreign exchange transactions last year which were short- term speculations against currency fluctuations: 80

Difference, in the mid-Nineties, between London's GDP and Austria's: 0

Percentage of employed Americans belonging to trade unions in 1945: 35.3

Percentage of employed Americans belonging to trade unions in 1998: 14.1

Percentage of Indians between 18 and 30, living in households with monthly incomes over Rs5,000 (pounds 80), who feel strongly that children should not move from their parents' house after marriage: 49

Number of muscles in an elephant's trunk: 40,000

SOURCES: New Scientist, Economist, New York Review of Books, Nation, New Republic, Focus, Le Monde diplomatique, A History of London: Stephen Inwood, New York Review of Books, Outlook, Times Literary Supplement, Colors.

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