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Vital statistics

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Last year we ate more than 5 billion bananas, twice that of 1985; the longest banana split is 7.3km long; and the eu says the fruit, first imported in 1888, must be at least 5.5 inches long, 1.06 inches wide, according to the Telegraph.

Over 70 per cent of 7-to-16-year-olds put safer streets, safer routes to school and more play areas at the top of an nop poll for the Children's Society.

The number of empty private-sector homes in England fell from 640,000 to 623,200 last April. 81,700 council houses were empty.

4.3 billion passenger journeys were made on buses last year in the uk. The detr found a 6 per cent rise in rail travel and an per cent increase in tube users.

Home improvements like extensions and conversions will hit £9 billion in 1999, says Spon's House Improvement Book. Tender prices are set to rise by 6 to 9 per cent before 2000, according to Spon's Price Books.

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