Hobson's Choice

Number of refugees in the world: 12.4m

Number of people in the world displaced within their own countries:

18m

Percentage of the 31,500 applications for asylum to the UK decided last year that were granted:

17

Number of asylum applications to the UK awaiting processing due to teething problems in the new computer system at the Home Office:

60,000

Number of pensioners in the UK whose state pensions are being underpaid because of more than 1,900 glitches in the new computer system at the Contributions Agency:

160,000

Number of people currently living on less than $4 a day in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as opposed to 4m 10 years ago:

147m

Percentage of Belarus's economy which is in the private sector:

1

Percentage of Hong Kong's population living in state-subsidised accommodation:

50

Average number of libraries in London that have closed every year during the past 10 years:

5

Number of shoppers an hour on Saturdays who walk down Nolwy Shiat Avenue in Warsaw, the busiest shopping street in the world:

14,000

Percentage of UK population that is left-handed:

15

Number of people in the world who die of rabies every year: 30,000

Of the 25 people who have died of rabies in the US since 1981, number bitten by bats - particularly the silver-haired bat - as opposed to dogs or skunks:

22

Number of ferrets kept as pets in the US:

7m

Number of Britons who keep pigeons as a hobby:

70,000

SOURCES: UNHCR, THE BIG ISSUE, THE ECONOMIST, NEW YORK TIMES, INTERNATIONAL TIBET INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT, WORLD BANK, INDEX ON CENSORSHIP, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, JANET AND JOHN GO SHOPPING, TIME OUT, SECTION D, TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT, NEW YORK TIMES, MODERN FERRET, THE ECONOMIST

Compiled by Will Hobson

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