Origins of Wonga
The payday lender Wonga has gone into administration. How did ‘wonga’ come to be used as slang for money?
— The term is believed to have derived from the Romany word ‘wangar’ which, although used as a term for money, in fact means ‘coal’. This in turn has Indo-Iranian origins.
— In English, too, ‘coal’ or ‘cole’ were used as slang for ‘money’ in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the possession of coal really did equate to wealth.
The Venezuelan economy is estimated to have shrunk by half over the past five years. How does that compare with the most severe economic crises of the past 150 years?
Source: American Economic Review
Where popes go
Pope Francis visited Ireland. No pope left Italy and the Vatican City from 1809 until Pope Paul VI travelled to Jordan and Israel in 1964. Which countries have received the largest number of papal visits since then?
Snipping the civil service
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said he was looking to increase the number of civil servants working on Brexit from 7,000 to 9,000. Which government departments employ the most civil servants?
And what areas do they cover?