Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Number of years in prison to which Daw San San, a Burmese pro-democracy activist in her late sixties, was sentenced for participating in a telephone interview with the BBC World Service: 25

Amount of bad loans, largely to construction and real estate firms, on the books of Japanese banks: $547.65 billion

Annualised inflation rate, in percent, in Indonesia: 77.2

Number of Malaysians losing their jobs each week: 2,600

Number of months, according to Alexander Lebed (the retired army general and prospective Presidential candidate) for which Russian army officers have not been paid: 5

Amount that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation - whose 500 members constitute the richest Native American tribe - take in per year from slot machines at Foxwoods Resort casino: $600 million

Countries in the world, apart from Finland, where more of the population own mobile phones than not: 0

Years ago that Bezek, Israel's national telephone company, issued an advice manual recommending that mobile-phone users switch off their phones during funerals: 3

Cost incurred by British Telecom during the 1,100 hours Paul Turner spent connected to the Internet through a freephone 0800 number in Norwich: pounds 52,854.19

Age at which Krishan Radia passed Information Technology GCSE, after five months part-time study at Ryde College, Northwood: 6

Year in which Krishan Radia predicts an asteroid will strike the earth, to prevent which he hopes to be a scientist when he grows up: 2029

Number of hours in a day on Mars: 24.62

Cost, per 75 ml, of Versace's childrens' fragrance, Baby Rose Jeans - "for girls who are not yet of age but know what they want": pounds 18

Amount, in litres, of synthetic milk adulterated with caustic soda

and soap solution and drunk at the Kumbh Mela festival at Hardwar,

India this year: 100,000

SOURCES: Index on Censorship, International Herald Tribune, AFP, New York Times, AP, The Art Newspaper, AP, The Guardian, Time Out, Evening Standard, National Geographic, The Library Association Record, Outlook

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