HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Online
Japanese banks' combined share of international lending in June 1995:

45%

Japanese banks' combined share of international lending today:

16%

Estimated bad debts - or non-performing loans - of Japan's major banks:

$290bn

Number of banks closed in Indonesia on 13 March, in addition to the 7 nationalised on the same day:

38

Likelihood that US products exported to Mexico are parts being shipped to American-owned companies in Mexico for assembly and re-export to the US:

4 in 10

Chances that one of the world's slot machines will be in Australia:

1 in 5

Percentage of Australians who gambled in 1997/1998:

82

Amount of money lost through gambling in Australia in 1997/1998:

pounds 4.5bn

Number of minutes of television the average four-month-old Australian baby watches a day:

44

Number of plastic and reconstructive procedures undergone by American citizens in 1998:

2.2 million

Amount American men spent on penile enlargements in 1996:

pounds 12m

Amount American men spent on liposuction, face-lifts, nose jobs and eyelid surgery in 1997:

$130m

Number of people in the UK employed solely to deal with telephone calls, as phone staff either in companies or in call centres:

1.3 million

Number of phone calls made in a month from Auckland to Spain and Tonga by Borislav Misic before he was convicted as New Zealand's first "phreaker" or telephone network hacker:

21,192

Average age of users of Sony PlayStation computer games consoles:

28

Fluid ounces of blood drained by leeches or cupping from King Charles II in the last months of his life:

24

Number of pubs in the UK:

58,507

Number of pubs in the UK owned by independent operators with multiple outlets:

23,481

Percentage of all beer produced in the UK made by the three largest brewers:

85

SOURCES: `THE BANKER', `THE NATION', `METRO', `TNT', `UTNE READER', `MOTHER JONES', `LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS', `NEW ZEALAND NEWS', `MARKETING WEEK', `CATERER & HOTELKEEPER'

COMPILED BY

WILL HOBSON

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