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Five things we learned last month

Photos: RV1864, Siri B.L., Lyman Erskine, Marcin Wichary, United Nations

Five of the most interesting things we learned while working on Dg#18…

1) The biggest cemetery in the world is Wadi al-Salam, in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Burials are still taking place at the 917-hectare graveyard which dates back more than 1,400 years and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. About five million people are thought to be buried at the cemetery.

2) Port-au-Prince is one of the biggest cities in the world without a sewer system. Latrines in the Haitian capital are cleaned out by bayakou men who scoop out the sewage with buckets under the cover of darkness. Despite their importance to city hygiene, being a bayakou is considered so shameful that some don’t even tell their wives what they do.

3) An estimated 1.2 million children in the Philippines are homeless. Seventy thousand of them live in the country’s capital, Manila, which is thought to have the highest rate of homelessness in the world.

4) Travelling at 28,000 km/h, it would take 38,570 years for a shuttle-launched spaceship to travel one light-year. It would take the Starship Enterprise 40 hours and a little over thirty minutes to traverse the same distance at warp factor six which, according to The Making of Star Trek, is the maximum safe cruising speed.

5) The partition of Pakistan and India sparked the biggest mass migration in human history. About 14.5 million people are thought to have moved from Pakistan to India or vice versa, – constituting 3.7 percent of pre-partition India’s 390 million population.

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