New Internationalist

Curiosities

Issue 258

new internationalist
issue 258 - August 1994

Questions
...that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this,
your section, and be answered by other readers. Please address
your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.

Their fathers' daughters: Benazir Bhutto (left) and Indira Gandhi.
BILL LYONS / CAMERA PRESS
RETO HUGIN / CAMERA PRESS

 

 

Can anyone explain to me why we have managed to have
women prime ministers in India and Pakistan and
still have deplorable treatment of women?

Could it be that India and Pakistan elected women prime ministers because Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto were both daughters of previous prime ministers? Likewise Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the wife of the Sri Lankan prime minister and Corazon Aquino was the wife of the leading Filipino opposition leader. Once elected, however, Bandaranaike and Gandhi became formidable leaders in their own right.

Bernard Misrchi
London, UK

Did Ringo Starr play drums in the Beatles' Strawberry Fields?

The Beatles recorded two versions of Strawberry Fields - a slower, lighter version featuring guitars, drums and mellotron and a faster, more heavily orchestrated version. With some technical trickery the beginning of the first version was joined to the end of the second and this hybrid was released. Ringo played on both versions.

Charlie Brady Glebe,
Australia

Does anyone know anything about the drug Filon which was withdrawn in 1974/5?

I have something to add to the answer given in NI 256. Filon contained phenmetrazine theoclate and phenmetrazine hydrochloride - appetite suppressants used to treat obesity, with limited success because tolerance develops. They have the additional drawback of stimulating the central nervous system, causing high blood pressure and even seizures. Although Filon is no longer on the UK market similar anorectic drugs continue to be marketed.

You can verify this information in Martindale - The extra pharmacopoeia (pages 65-70 of the 29th edition) published in London by the Pharmaceutical Press. As a pharmacist who used to work for a drug information service I know it can be difficult for non-health care workers to find information about old drugs.

Lorraine Phillips
Calgary, Canada

This drug was listed in the British National Formulary as recently as 1980. It was manufactured by Berk Pharmaceuticals, whose current address is: Brampton Road, Hampden Park, Eastbourne, BN22 9AG, UK.

Dr Elisabeth Murray
Thingnall, UK

Awaiting your answers...

Which country in the world was under colonial rule for the longest time?

Tariq M M Antar
Khartoum, Sudan

Which, if any, of the British commercial banks has cancelled its Third World debts -
particularly in regard to sub-Saharan Africa?

Liza Sandell
Suva, Fiji

I've noticed that the war in the former Yugoslavia has been described as 'ethnic conflict' while what has been happening in Rwanda is described as 'tribal war'. What is the difference between an 'ethnic group' and a 'tribe'?

Janet Tomkins
Vancouver, Canada

If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities,
New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK,
or to your local NI office (click here for addresses).

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