HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Online
Percentage of the world's output of opium the UN says is produced by Afghanistan:

75 per cent

Percentage of the heroin available in Europe originating from Afghanistan:

90 per cent

Number of countries, apart from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE, that recognise the Taliban's government of Afghanistan:

0

Rate, in kilometres per year, of desertification's advance southwards through Sudan:

10

Number of Japanese executives who die every year playing golf:

200

Years since Russia's federal security service, formerly known as the KGB, have made spying allegations against an American diplomat:

5

Percentage of Iran's cement manufacture,along with over a quarter of its textiles, sugar and tyre manufacture, controlled by the Foundation for the Disinherited and War Disabled:

42 per cent

Number of times greater the total worth of financial derivatives traded in 1997 was than the value of the world economy:

12

Number of Americans claiming Irish ancestry:

38 million

Chances that a member of Israel's population under 14 lives in a family with a monthly income of pounds 380 or less - the officially recognised poverty line:

1 in 4

Number of deaths resulting from 'flu every year in the UK:

4,000

Number of deaths resulting from 'flu in the UK in epidemic years, such as 1989-1990:

25,000

Average age of churchgoers last year in Britain, as compared to 38 in 1989:

43

Number of giant pandas thought to be still living in the wild:

1,000

Number of healers - faith, spiritual, reiki and therapeutic touch - who are currently registered in the UK:

12,000

Most days British customs officers have waited for a man suspected of swallowing packets of cocaine to go to the lavatory:

23

SOURCES: NEWSWEEK, THE ECONOMIST, SIMPLE QUESTIONS RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, THE GUARDIAN, NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF BOOKS, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, JEWISH CHRONICLE, HEALTH WHICH?, DAILY TELEGRAPH, ASSOCIATED PRESS, HEALTH WHICH?, DAILY TELEGRAPH.

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