Our first winter
Hopes will not be high for a big haul of British medals in Sochi, but we have not always been Cinderellas at winter sports. In the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924 Britain sent 44 competitors, more than any other country, and ended up sixth in the medals, above the host nation, France.
— There were bronze medals for the men’s ice hockey team and the less-than-elegantly named Ethel Muckelt. The men’s four/five-man bobsleigh won a silver. The men’s curling team won gold — although the medals were not presented until 2006 after a campaign by Scottish newspapers.
— One of the curling team, Major D.G. Astley, achieved a unique honour. Besides being awarded gold for Great Britain, he was somehow allowed to play for Sweden against France in the play-off for silver. Sweden won, so Major Astley won a gold and silver in the same event.
Tropics of cancer
The World Health Organisation predicted that the number of new cases of cancer worldwide could increase by 70% to 25 million a year over the next 20 years. This is one disease where the developing world does not lead the way. Here are the countries with the highest recorded incidence, age-standardised, per 100,000 population:
Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith says there is not a ‘bottomless pit’ for flood defences. How does the flood defence budget compare with some other forms of government spending this financial year?
|Coastal Communities Fund, to revitalise seaside resorts||£28m|
|Flood defence budget||£533m|
|Renewable energy subsidies||£1.99bn|
|Single Farm Payment||£2.5bn|
24-hour transport people
A reminder to Bob Crow of some of at least 43 cities around the world which run fully-automated metro systems:
Barcelona, Budapest, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dubai, Istanbul, Lausanne, Lille, Manila, Nuremburg, Paris, Rennes, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Turin, Vancouver
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