Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Article excerpt

Matters of record

German skydiver Felix Baumgartner attempted to become the first man to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft when he dropped from a balloon at 120,000 feet over Mexico, reaching 690mph 40 seconds later. Other feats still to be achieved:

- Climbing Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan, at 24,836 feet the highest mountain never climbed. But attempts have been banned since 1994 for religious reasons.

- Swim the Pacific, if you can beat Benoit Lecomte to it. He swam the Atlantic (in eight-hour stages) in 1998, and is about to embark on a crossing from Tokyo to San Francisco in a shark cage.

- Run a marathon in under two hours - the current record, held by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, is 2 hrs, 3 mins, 59 seconds.

Working to rule

The Chancellor, George Osborne, suggested that employees be offered free shares in their companies if they agree to give up employment rights. What effect does regulation have on job creation?

Ranking for ease of doing business Adult male labour participation rate (%)

4 US 70

7 UK 69

13 Canada 72

19 Germany 67

29 France 62

87 Italy 60

Source: World Bank

Tourists everywhere

The World Tourism Organisation predicts that the number of international tourist visits will this year surpass a billion for the first time. …

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