The height of higher education: Some stats on the world's top universities

As students everywhere pack their cars full of everything they'll need for the new university term, now seems like the perfect time to look a little deeper at the world's top higher education institutions. While the lecture theatres and halls of residence might seem packed, if you're currently attending university you're actually in a minority, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

When it comes to people taking advantage of tertiary education – defined by the OECD as universities or other institutions providing further training and education beyond school age – the numbers are relatively low.  Here are the top ten countries for higher education according to the percentage of the population aged 25-64 who have completed tertiary education…

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National Wildlife Day: The endangered species the statistics say we're losing

The 4th September marked National Wildlife Day, and while it's a good occasion to celebrate the wonders of the natural world, it's also an occasion to take stock of what's been lost and what we're in danger of losing in the near future.

Say the word 'endangered' and most people immediately picture a tiger or an elephant, the former still widely hunted for their so-called 'medicinal' properties and the latter regularly falling prey to ivory dealers. While both feature on the list of the most endangered species, they're not as close to the top as you might think. In the latest figures from October 2015, here were the thirty most at risk animals according to estimates of the numbers still alive...

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Back to school? Some worldwide education stats to make you think

It’s September, which means back to school for the kids.  While some of them will probably have just received exam results and don’t want to think about turning their papers over again just yet, we thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some international statistics on educational success.

Since 1997, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has carried out a survey called the Programme for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA tests.  Pupils from around the world sit exams to assess their skills in reading, maths and science, and then countries are graded on a 1,000 point scale to see how well they perform alongside one another.  The last set of PISA tests results were released in 2012, so are a little behind the times now.  That said, they still offer a fascinating glimpse into contrasting education systems and little is likely to have changed drastically since the last set of exams.

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Charting a course to extreme old age

Life expectancy is, on the whole, going up and up across the world. The global average life expectancy now stands at 68.2 years for men and 73.2 years for women, although in some countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho and the Central African Republic, you're still unlikely to reach your fiftieth birthday.

Japan holds the record for the longest average life expectancy, with men able to look forward to reaching 80.5 years of age and women 86.8. The United Kingdom comes in at 20th place in the global rankings, with the average lifespan taking both sexes into account coming out at 81.2 years. The United States finds its way into 31st place, at 79.3 years. Here's a little chart to show the top ten countries with the average life expectancies fro both men and women:

CHART - Top ten countries for life exectancy

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Playing for big bucks: Some stats on the highest paid sports stars

There's no doubt about it, there are some obscene amounts of money splashed around in the sporting world. This year Forbes crowned Cristiano Ronaldo the world's highest paid sports personality, and with total earnings of $88milion, the captain of the Portuguese team was a cool $6.6million dollars better off than the nearest competitor, Lionel Messi.

Despite footballers claiming the top two spots on the sports rich list, basketball seems to be a good profession to take up if you want to earn a small fortune. Three of the top wealthiest sports starts are basketball players - LeBron James ($77.2million), Kevin Durant ($56.2million) and Kobe Bryant ($50million). Here's a run down of the top ten by their total earnings.

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