Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Article excerpt

Initial problems

The leaders of the eurozone countries have hatched a plan to bundle up dodgy Greek government debt and sell it to the Chinese.

Without any apparent sense of irony, the debt will be sold in the form of a Special Purpose Investment Vehicle - known as Spiv for short. Some other unfortunate acronyms:

- Canadian Reform Alliance Party (since merged with the Conservatives)

- Committee to RE-Elect the President: formed to raise money for Richard Nixon's election campaign in 1972

- Area Rolling Stock Engineer: position held by British Railways functionaries

- South Lake Union Trolley: (reputed) original name for tram line in Seattle

- SS: now-replaced emblems on the arms of traffic wardens on Southend-on-Sea, derived from the town's postcode

Making billions

The Earth's population has officially passed seven billion. These are the years in which the population reached previous milestones:

1 billion 1804

2 billion 1927

3 billion 1960

4 billion 1974

5 billion 1987

6 billion 1999

Odds and ends

Three Pakistani cricketers have been convicted of spot-fixing by bowling no-balls at times pre-arranged with a betting syndicate. …

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