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The American-Canadian border is often referred to as the 49th parallel as it runs for much of its length along the 49th parallel north. It is the longest border between two countries in the world, stretching 8,891 kilometers (5,525 miles) (including the Alaska-Yukon/British Columbia frontier). The continuous border stretches 6,416 kilometres […]

Magic line


Shimla is currently the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. Under its former name, Simla, it was the summer capital of the British Raj. As temperatures and humidity soared on the sweltering plains below, the ruling classes of the sub-continent would head to the mountains, climbing into the cooler climes of […]

Monkey business


In the seven years between 1642 and 1649 astaggering one in ten of the adult male population of the British Isles died.This was more than three times the proportion that died in the First World Warand more than five times the proportion that died in World War Two.   If […]

Uncivil war



> In the frontier thrusting early years of the nineteenth century, the British Armyattracted some of the boldest, bravest, most eccentric and unorthodox officersever to grace the field. Looming large over them all was General Sir CharlesJames Napier, Commander-in-Chief in India and Governor of Bombay Presidency. His most notable campaign […]

>I have sinned


> The United Nations has announced, with headline grabbing flair, that the world will welcome its seven billionth inhabitant on 31 October 2011. The prophetic accuracy is tempered by caveats that the date is merely a projection, based on current statistical assumptions.  Of course, nothing nearly as accurate can be […]

>Welcome to the world, number 7,000,000,000


> Two minutes after midnight on 12October 1999 a baby boy was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He was 3.55kg (8lbs),healthy and welcomed in to theworld by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. The baby,Adnan Mević, was given such high profile attention after being selected by theUnited Nations Population […]

>Prophecies of doom – the warning echoes of Thomas Malthus



> In 1807 the Slave Trade Act was passed, makingthe slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire. The statutory manumissionof slaves within British possessions would follow in the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. The Royal Navy was the means by which the 1807 Actwas to be upheld, with British ships forming […]

>International rescue


> This is a tale of two tables and a moral on lies, damnedlies and statistics. This morning’s Daily Chart in theEconomist features a table of government debt. Streaking ahead of the rest, thedubious distinction of topping this chart fell to Japan, with gross governmentdebt reaching 230% of GDP. The […]

>Dealing with debt


> Out of the five best performing education systems inthe world, four are in Asia. Out of the top ten, seven are in the Asia Pacificregion. The OECD collects data on reading, maths and science scores on astandardised basis. Top of the table is Shanghai, China, with top places foreach. […]

>Top of the class