HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Online
Amount corporate profits in Germany have risen since 1979:

90 per cent

Amount corporate taxes contribute to Germany's total tax revenue, as compared to 25 per cent in 1980:

13 per cent

Age at which a divorced Egyptian woman's right of custody over her daughter expires and the child is surrendered to the father - two years later than for sons:

12

Number of children in Egypt - mainly the product of brief marriages to Gulf Arabs - without a nationality, since Egyptian women cannot pass on their nationality:

80,000

Chances that a black man in Alabama and Florida is barred from voting:

1 in 3

Amount spent on herbal medicines in US each year:

$4bn

Percentage of Basques who have type O rhesus negative blood, the highest concentration in the world:

27

Number of active geysers in the world, 300 of which are in Yellowstone Park:

700

Percentage of Iceland's homes heated geothermally (by water heated naturally underground):

65 per cent

Number of buildings in the centre of Southampton that are heated geothermally:

20

Percentage of Americans thought to be suffering from "social phobia", or shyness, in 1980, when the American Psychiatric Association defined it as "the fear of a specific social activity compelling an individual to avoid it altogether":

2.5 per cent

Number of Americans now thought to be socially phobic, since the definition has been generalised and relaxed from "compelling desire to avoid" to "marked distress":

35 million

Number of French men and women who visit a club echangiste or boite a partouze - a swingers club - each year:

400,000

Cost of converting Claridge's ballroom into the sewer HQ of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, complete with luxurious anterooms decorated as gurgling drains, for the ninth birthday of the Sultan of Brunei's nephew, Prince Bahar:

pounds 500,000

SOURCES: NEW STATESMAN, THE ECONOMIST, HARPERS, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, FOCUS, UTNE READER, THE GUARDIAN, HARPERS & QUEEN, EVENING STANDARD.

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