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Popular Elsewhere

15:21 UK time, Monday, 27 June 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

In the checklist for the cost of war you'd be forgiven for forgetting air conditioning. But NPR's most popular article brings it to our attention having worked out cooling down troops cost the US $20bn (£12.5bn) per year in Iraq and Afghanistan. To give us a sense of scale they've worked out that's more than is spent on Nasa. It's also more than was spent on cleaning up the Gulf oil spill. The expense is due to transporting the fuel to power the air conditioners. They quote the US army's former logistician who calculates it takes 18 days to drive fuel from Karachi in Pakistan to a remote outpost in Afghanistan.

The Economist is a big fan of the bar graph. Indeed, they even have a "chart of the day" blog. But what has really got its readers clicking is its graph on the cost of cocaine. Out of 18 countries displayed, cocaine bought in the US is third most expensive. It's cheapest in Britain which also comes joint first with Ireland for highest consumption. For the Economist the data is interesting because despite a war on drugs the cost of cocaine has gone down.

The Daily Mail has identifies what it calls another "hidden crime wave" - hidden because of the age of the perpetrators. The paper says up to 3,000 people "escaped" punishment for their crimes last year because they were below ten-years-old. It leads the paper to wade into that tricky question of at what age someone becomes responsible for their actions. It ends with Jon Venables's former solicitor, Laurence Lee, saying reducing the limit was 'just not on' but increasing it would be against public opinion.

The Glastonbury backlash has begun. Charlie Brooker has ditched the music festival and decided to stick to the moan fest in a popular Guardian article. The reassurance that it's OK to dislike tents, discomfort or indeed any "mild inconvenience" gets his readers clicking. He confines the enjoyment of the festival to people who are 23 and like running around in glitter. He confirms he doesn't fit the bill on either of those fronts.

Anything about China, normally China's growth, do well in the most read lists. But add China and corruption and you're guaranteed a spot at the top of Time's most read list it seems - it even beat an article entitled Should Flogging be an Alternative to Prison? Research from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences claims 18,000 government officials have fled China since 1990 taking with them an estimated $120bn. That's the equivalent of twenty years of education spending in China. The article says the twist is that if people are eventually tracked down, they cannot be sent back to China. That's because corruption allegations can lead to the death penalty in China, so people aren't sent back for human rights reasons.



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