Hobson's choice

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The Independent Culture
Estimated number of people killed in Algeria since the 1992 general election was cancelled: 65,000

Number of the world's 8 million heroin addicts who live in Pakistan: 2 million

Average number of female infants killed every month of last year in the Dharmapuri District, Chennai, South India: 105

Number of women assaulted by minicab drivers in London last year: 66

Amount, at the most favourable rate of exchange, that Russia's 35,000 junior tax inspectors are officially paid a month: $100

Number of Russians, out of the 100 million adult population, who filed a tax return in 1996: 2.8 million

Year in which American, Audrey Santo, aged 14, was taken to Medjugorgje, and the miracles associated with her have included curing the disabled and making communion wafers bleed: 1988

Number of people who participated this year in a stadium mass in Boston for Audrey Santo. She has suffered from akinetic mutism, aka near-total paralysis, since the age of three. She attended in a transparent box: 8,000

Projected number of tourists visiting Antarctica this year: 9,000

Increase in the number of Lonely Planet Guidebooks published this year, compared with the 80 published in 1988: 282

Number of babies, born to members of Heathrow's 57,000 staff, who were baptised at Heathrow's airport chapel last year: 8

Amount that Peter Carpenter has saved on heating bills since building an "earth-sheltered", or underground, house under 1,000 tons of Welsh earth eight years ago: pounds 16,000

Hours that Ana Carvalho took to do her shopping at Tesco in Weston-super-Mare, as a result of which she was banned from the store: 4

SOURCES: New Nation, The Asian Age, The Hindu, Marie Claire, The Tablet, New Scientist, Red, Church Times, New Statesman, Red.

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