HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Online
Percentage by which the US federal anti-drug budget has risen since 1970:

3,700

Number of objects that will drop from the sky each week next year, the majority burning up on impact:

12

Number of active home-made satellites in Earth's orbit:

16

Number of defunct military or commercial satellites in the Earth's orbit:

2,000

Of the 10,000 time capsules known by the International Time Capsule Society to have been buried since the war, number that have been lost:

9,000

Number of cars in Prague in 1989:

40,000

Number of cars in Prague in 1999:

300,000

Number of school governors' positions in England and Wales yet to be filled:

27,000

Number of words Japanese teenagers invent each year: 5,500

Worth of toys and games that are not played with in the average British household:

pounds 254

Estimated amount the British will be spending on toys this Christmas:

pounds 850m

Number of cats stolen per year in France, many for fur to make children's shoes:

20,000

Estimated proportion of New Zealand's cats suffering from obesity:

1 in 2

Amount Sydney's Mardi Gras generates for the Australian economy:

$64m

Likelihood a British person has not decided what to do on New Year's Eve:

3 in 5

Percentage of those who have made plans prepared to describe them as "very exciting":

7

Amount a blue door featured in the film Notting Hill fetched at auction at Christie's:

pounds 5,750

SOURCES: HARPER'S, TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT, ECONOMIST, TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT, BBC RADIO 4, ABBEY NATIONAL, THE GUARDIAN, THE INDEPENDENT, NEW ZEALAND NEWS UK, ECONOMIST, NOP, METRO.

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