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Boston, borrowing and giant snails: The week in numbers

Plus – find out why a French cabinet minister will be writing a cheque to Phil Hogan…
Apr 20th 2013, 7:30 PM 5,465 1

EVERY WEEK, offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed.

€4.69 – The amount, per week, that a single childless person will be expected to spend on a USB device for an internet connection. That’s according to the ballpark figures published by the new Insolvency Service of Ireland this week.

€19.12 – The approximate amount that a judge fined someone after their phone went off in a courtroom in Michigan. That was notable for one reason: the judge was issuing the $25 fine to… himself.

€157 - The amount that a French cabinet minister will have to pay the Irish government in property tax. Hélène Conway-Mouret, who is the minister responsible for French expatriates, lived in Ireland for decades and has an apartment in north Dublin, worth €180,000. She’ll face the property tax kicking in this July, like everyone else (except, hopefully, this soldier).

0.19 per cent – The interest rate paid by Ireland to borrow €500 million for three months at an auction earlier this week. This was significantly less than the 0.24 per cent paid for an identical loan last month.

33.76 per cent – The amount of the Irish government’s ‘voted’ spending (as in, accounted for in the Budget and not through other laws) taken up by public pay and pensions. Revised Budget figures this week put the bill at €18.07 billion for this year. The government says it needs that to be €300 million lower this year. And yet…

2,016 – The number of votes cast against the Croke Park II pay deal at ICTU’s Public Service Committee this week, officially killing the deal for now. Only 761 votes – cast by five unions – supported the deal.

One – The number of countries accidentally omitted from a widely-cited 2010 academic paper which examined the effects of high national debt on economic growth. An error in a Microsoft Excel formula meant the Reinhart-Rogoff study forgot to include calculations about Belgium – and if they had, their findings (linking high debt with poor growth, and therefore advocating austerity to tackle those debts) would have been very different.

54,000 – The capacity, in pounds, of anhydrous ammonia that could be stored at the fertiliser factory at West, Texas – the site of Friday morning’s massive explosion. By comparison, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed t68 people, used 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate.

108 – The number of Irish citizens who were taking part in Monday’s Boston Marathon, which was hit by two explosions at the finish line while most participants were finishing. At least three Irish athletes were on the home straight, just yards from the site of the two bombings, when the blasts went off.

4,700 – The number of police and military staff on security duty at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday.

2,300 – The number of invited mourners.

0 out of 50 – The number of Irish beef products which were shown to have traces of horse meat in EU tests published this week. 193 out of 4,144 samples tested across the continent tested positive for equine DNA.

120,000 – The number of giant snails (yes, that’s GIANT SNAILS) found in one county in Florida alone in the last three years. And we mean GIANT BLOODY SNAILS.

Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces>

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Gavan Reilly


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