Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Number of people who re-elected Bill Clinton: 47 million

Amount spent in Europe per year on cigarettes: $50 billion

Amount needed to give the entire world's population access to clean drinking water and sanitation: $9 billion

Average amount of water, in litres, used daily, for all purposes, by

inhabitants of developing countries: 10

Amount of water used when a toilet is flushed five times - the daily average in the UK: 50

Average time, in minutes, American shoppers spend on each visit to a supermarket: 24

Number of items on supermarket shelves that American shoppers scan visually, per minute: 917

Number of illegal aliens arrested in July on the Nogales-Tucson section of the Mexican/USA border: 32,444

Number of countries in which Burson Marsteller, the PR firm which has represented Union Carbide, Exxon, the governments of Argentina and Indonesia and, most recently, biotechnology firm Monsanto, has offices: 30

Estimated cost of destroying Russia's 40,000 tonnes of chemical warfare agents: $3.3-5 billion

Number of Chinese practising martial arts: 20 million

Number of people officially registered as members of the European Federation of Tall Persons: 15,000

Average size of a hotel bath in Europe: 5'6"

Number of times Ronald Cochrane, a pensioner, was sent the same letter by Newcastle DSS telling him that he could claim an extra 5p a week: 24

Year in which the whale shark, the world's biggest and most elusive fish, was discovered to bear live young, rather than lay eggs: 1995

Compiled by Will Hobson

SOURCES: The Nation (x2), UN Development Programme (x2), WaterAid (x2), Advertising Age (x2), The Economist, The Ecologist, Stockholm Peace Institute, Giant Robot, Business Life (x2), The Big Issue, Geographical.