Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Number of high-ranking Burmese army officers which the junta, the State Peace and Development Council, denies were arrested on 5 September on charges of planning a meeting with the leader of the National League of Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi: 15

Number of Burmese MPs, elected in 1990 general elections but prevented by the military junta from assuming their seats, arrested since May of this year: 185

Number of people displaced from their homes, so far, by the war in Kosovo: 265,000

Height, in metres, of wall which Ladislav Hruska, the mayor of Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, wishes to build around the blocks of flats inhabited by Gypsies "to separate the decent people from those who are not": 4

Number of members of the 7,000 strong Haitian National Police, formed after the US invasion in 1995, against whom disciplinary action has been taken in the first five months of this year: 332

Amount stolen in Iraq, according to official exchange rates, for which the punishment is amputation of a hand: pounds 2,600

Amount stolen in Iraq, according to black market exchange rates, for which the punishment is amputation of a hand: pounds 2.50

Length of X-shaped mark, in centimetres, which, according to Law 109 promulgated by President Saddam Hussein in 1994, should be branded on the forehead of repeat offenders who have already lost a hand: 1

Estimated number of close circuit TV cameras in British town centres by the year 2000: 300,000

Estimated number of computer experts in the world working on problems presented by the year 2000: 30,000

Chances that a citizen of the United Kingdom will be middle class: 1 in 2

Amount which Italian fashion designer Gattinoni, creator of the Viagra blue latex vestito preservativo, or "condom dress", has offered Monica Lewinsky to model for him in Milan in October: pounds 285,000

Weeks of filming by David Attenborough and a BBC crew which were destroyed when their bags went through a baggage scanner at Manchester Airport: 5

SOURCES: IPS(x3), New York Review of Books, International Herald Tribune/Index on Censorship, Caribbean Times, Dissent/Kanan Makiya(x3), Die Berliner Stadtzeitung, AP, Times Educational Supplement,Le Monde, Barron's Weekly, Anthropology Today

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