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How Britannia got her trident

Also in our Barometer column: deaths in US police custody, gun deaths in the G7, and food poisoning in Britain

23 July 2016

9:00 AM

23 July 2016

9:00 AM

How Britannia got her trident

Parliament voted to renew Trident as Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent. But what about Britannia and her trident?
— Unnoticed by some, our coinage was unilaterally disarmed in 2008 when a new 50p was issued, with a crest, not Britannia.
— But then Britannia didn’t always bear a trident. When she was first put on coins by the Romans she carried a spear in one hand and an olive branch in the other.
— She retained her spear until 1797 when, to celebrate Britain’s naval power, the weapon was replaced by a trident. The inspiration came from Poseidon and Neptune, Greek and Roman deities of the sea. They carried a trident because it was used in the ancient world for fishing.

Death under arrest

Who dies when police in the US arrest suspects, and how do they die? A study of 4,813 deaths of suspects during and soon after arrest revealed the following:
95% were males.
42% were white.
32% were black/African American.
20% were Hispanic.
60% were classed as homicides.
11% were suicides/intoxication.
6% were accidental injury.
5% were natural causes.
Source: Bureau of Justice

No. 1 with a bullet

And in the light of three deaths in Spalding, Lincolnshire, how does the UK compare among G7 nations for homicides involving firearms?

Deaths each year per 100,000 people
US 3.43
Canada 0.38
Italy 0.37
France 0.22
Germany 0.05
UK 0.04
Japan 0.0001


Gut check

Public Health England warned people to wash salad after 62 were hospitalised from food poisoning. Which foods caused the most incidents reported to the Food Standards Agency last year?

Meat and meat products 254
Bivalve molluscs 107
Fruit and vegetables 97
Cereals/bakery products 87
Milk/milk products 70
Herbs/spices 70
Dietetic foods/food supplements 61
Nuts/seeds 60
Poultry 53

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