The Spectator

Barometer | 10 September 2015

Plus: the countries that have most refugees, hurricanes decade by decade, and Britain’s prehistoric monuments

Barometer | 10 September 2015
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Old bags

The government announced details of a compulsory 5p charge for single-use plastic bags in shops. Plastic bags have only been around since 1960, when they were first produced by the Swedish firm Akerlund and Rausing, later to give the world the Tetrapak. The first store to use them was Strom, a shoe-shop chain whose owner had complained paper bags were too weak. The first plastic bags had cord handles; a design with integral handle was patented in 1965 by the Swedish company Celloplast, which went on to enjoy a decade of monopoly.

Places of refuge

David Cameron said that Britain would take 20,000 more Syrian refugees over the next five years. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UK had a population of 126,055 in 2013, the 25th highest in the world. Who had the most?

No. of refugees

Pakistan

1.6 m

Iran

857,000

Lebanon

856,000

Jordan

641,000

Turkey

610,000

Kenya

534,000

% of overall population

Pakistan

0.8%

Iran

1.5%

Lebanon

19%

Jordan

10%

Turkey

0.8%

Kenya

1.1%

Winds of change

The Met Office wants to give names to Atlantic storms, as the US Weather Bureau has done with Caribbean storms since the 1950s. Does the number of hurricanes support the case that we are experiencing a more extreme climate?

Cat. 5 hurricanes

1930s

6

1940s

0

1950s

3

1960s

6

1970s

3

1980s

3

1990s

2

2000s

8

2010-2015

0

Cat. 4 and 5 hurricanes

1930s

16

1940s

10

1950s

16

1960s

15

1970s

8

1980s

10

1990s

14

2000s

23

2010-2015

7

Making prehistory

Archaeologists found 100 stones buried under 3ft of soil in Wiltshire which they believe made up a 4,500-year-old ‘super henge’. How many known prehistoric monuments are there in Britain?

1,300 stone circles (in British Isles), of which 76 are in England.

60 timber or pit circles (circular monuments whose edge was defined by wooden posts or by holes).

50 henges (defined as circles with a ditch inside an outer wall; Stonehenge is not now classed as a henge because its ditch lies outside its bank, a form more associated with forts).