Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Ratio of human deaths world wide this year that will be caused by malaria or a malaria-related disease: 1 in 17

Percentage of Africa's population which is under 18 years of age: 50

Difference, at current African market rates, between the price of an AK47, firing 30 bullets per trigger pull, and the price of a goat: 0

Conviction rate for rape cases in India: 4 per cent

Number of Jews and Christians treated, in a normal year, by Jerusalem's Kfar Shaul mental health centre for messianic delusions, known as the "Jerusalem syndrome": 100

Number of pilgrims expected to visit the Holy Land during the millennium year: 4 million

Date on which Switzerland will begin celebrating the millennium: 1 January 2001

Amount spent by the Health Education Authority in the UK between 1980 and 1996 on anti-smoking advertising: pounds 26,138,000

Number of people aged 16 and over classified as regular smokers - smoking at least one cigarette a week - in the UK in 1980: 14 million

Number of people aged 16 and over classified as regular smokers in 1996: 10.8 million

Number of people fined for offences relating to the sale of tobacco to persons aged under 16 in 1996: 101

Average rate by which bus ridership in the UK has fallen since the deregulation of bus services in 1985: 31 per cent

Amount Michael Jordan would have been paid for the 45 to 50 games of this NBA season, if he had not retired: $20m

Amount Michael Jordan earns a year from endorsements: $45m

Number of New Yorkers bitten last year by rats: 184

Number of New Yorkers bitten last year by other New Yorkers: 1,102

SOURCES: World Health Authority, Journal of the African International Institute, Outlook, Jewish Chronicle, Le Monde, Hansard, Green Guide, New Nation, Time Out.