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Are pigeons braver than dogs?

Plus: Prison compensation, cancer survival rates, and the price of high-speed rail

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

Animal spirit

A labrador blown up with her handler while sniffing for bombs in Afghanistan in 2008 became the 64th animal to be awarded the PDSA’s Dickin medal for ‘gallantry’ during wartime work.
— Among the total are 29 dogs, yet they are outnumbered by the 32 pigeons who have won the medal, such as Gustav, for bringing home the first message from the Normandy beach landings in 1944.
— Only three horses have been given the medal, and none of them were working in a war zone. Olga, for example, was given the award after bolting 100 yards from a flying bomb, before returning to the scene and helping police direct traffic and rescue operations.
One ship’s cat has been given the medal, but there have been none for the cattle who have provided the bully beef.

Prison’s compensations

A prisoner was awarded £820 in compensation after a pair of nasal hair clippers were damaged and a carton of cranberry juice lost. Who receives the most compensation, prisoners or prison officers? These were the figures in 2011/12:

Prisoners
Medical/psychiatric £51,500
Violence/injury £16,750
Physical environment (e.g. slips) £58,616
Officers
Medical/psychiatric

£13,500

Violence/injury

£162,318

Physical environment (e.g. slips)

£245,051


— In addition, prisoners won £8,833 for wrongful imprisonment
Source: Ministry of Justice

A question of survival

Ten-year cancer survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years. Which cancers are most, and which are least, survivable?

% patients alive 10 years after diagnosis

Testis

98%

Malignant melanoma

89%

Prostate

84%

Hodgkin lymphoma

80%

Breast

78%

Stomach

15%

Brain

13%

Oesophagus

12%

Lung

5%

Pancreas

1%

Source: Cancer Research UK

Full fare

MPs voted to approve the building of HS2. A reminder of how the costs per mile compare with other high-speed railways:

Paris–Strasbourg (2007)

£22m

Frankfurt–Cologne (2002)

£60m

HS1 (2003/2007)

£80m

HS2 (today’s prices)

£121m


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