Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Number of Chileans who the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission - which did not investigate cases of politically motivated imprisonment or torture - reported as having died or disappeared between 1973 and 1990 as a result of human rights violations: 3,197

Number of politically motivated detentions in Chile between 1973 and 1975: 42,486

Cost of a Tomahawk missile, 80 of which were launched at sites in Afghanistan and Sudan considered to have links with Osama Bin Laden: $750,000

Number of bombings which Corsican separatist groups have claimed responsibility for in Corsica and in France: 3,000

Number of amputees in Mozambique caused by landmines: 8,000

Number of post-war governments in Italy: 55

Year Nostradamus predicted the Colosseum in Rome would fall, without reference to which the Banca di Roma has recently pledged 40m lira to repair damage caused by traffic pollution and subsidence: 1999

Percentage of world's air crashes which occur on internal flights in China: 70

Number of 5-mile-diameter asteroids in Earth-crossing orbits: 10

Days of lightning in Great Britain last year, if the over 100,000 lightning strikes were taken as continuous: 28

Items of direct or "junk" mail posted in Great Britain last year: 3.42 billion

Number of American children killed in the last seven years by a television set toppling over and crushing them: 29

Age at which Caroline Plant tried to kill herself after running up a pounds 2,600 telephone bill calling to have her tarot cards read: 12

Reported maximum length of "trances" which "remote tarot readers" - tarot readers over the telephone - have been reported to go into during calls: 30 minutes

Compiled by Will Hobson

SOURCES: National Truth and Conciliation Commission Report May 1991, Derechos Chile/Vicaria de la Solidaridad, Time(x2), The Voice, Newsweek(x2), Focus, New Scientist, Precision Marketing, Marketing Direct, Focus, Tomorrow*s World, Pride(x2), Life.

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