HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Culture
Percentage of the Himalayas' 15,000 glaciers still remaining in 2035 if they continue thinning and receding at the current rate:

20

Percentage of the world's population living in the Gangetic basin, the rivers of which receive 75 per cent of their water from the Himalayas' glaciers:

10

Percentage of Indonesia's coral reefs "still in good shape":

7

Number of cigarettes produced annually for every person - including children:

1,000

Number of packets of cigarettes, per capita, smoked annually in Greece:

139

Average monthly wage in Bulgaria:

$50

Stipulated minimum hourly wage in Germany:

pounds 6.20

Percentage of public building projects in Berlin for which construction companies are not paid on time:

76

Number of construction companies in Germany going bust every quarter:

350

Number of chief executives treated for sex addiction at the Meadows treatment centre in Wickenburg, Arizona, last year:

500

Chances that a web page viewed in a US home contains sex-related material:

1 in 4

Ranking of Harlem among New York destinations for foreign tourists:

1

Number of tourists arriving every day in the Canary Islands, on average:

11,000

Percentage of computer and automated systems at French nuclear power stations that still need work to guarantee short-term safety from the Y2K bug:

40

Amount paid in Taiwan for the mobile phone number 456789, believed to indicate ever-increasing success:

$2,447

Number of different types of bacteria in the large bowel or colon, almost all of which are always beneficial:

500

SOURCES: DOWN TO EARTH, SONG FOR THE BLUE OCEAN/CARL SAFINA, CIGARETTES: ANATOMY OF AN INDUSTRY/TARA PARKER-POPE, VISITING ARTS, THE INDEPENDENT, AP, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, FINANCIAL TIMES, REUTERS, WEST SHORE ENDOSCOPY CENTER

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