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One quarter of Britons still in contact with first best friend

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Thanks for Retuning!

One in four said they were still in contact with their closest friend from primary school, according to the poll.

The survey of 1,050 adults found the average Briton only counted five of their current day acquaintances as ‘close friends’.

Women were more likely to keep the same friends as they went through life, with three in 10 still close to their first best friend, compared with two out of 10 men.

But females also appeared more selective when it came to who they counted as friends, with men averaging one more close friend among their immediate circle than the fairer sex.

The study by snack maker Pom-Bear to highlight its ‘Let Make Friends’ campaign revealed some marked differences in friendship patterns across the country.

Four out of 10 in the North East were still close to their first best friend from school, compared with just two out of 10 people in the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and the South West.

People living in the North West and the Midlands were found to have been the most fickle in collecting ‘best friends’ through their school years, with a third of respondents from each region admitting they had counted no fewer than five ‘best mates’ along the way.

Londoners claimed to have the largest circle of friends as adults with more than six each, compared with those in the South West who averaged less than four.

Respondents aged 18 to 34 and the over-55s claimed to have the greatest number of friends.

Roxanne Amir-Mohammadi, brand manager from Pom-Bear said: “Even though many of us can count many more people in our wider circle of acquaintances, we are still quite choosy when it comes to defining who we consider to be our real friends.

“It also appears that the busiest years of our working lives take their toll when it comes to staying in touch with friends with people aged between 35 and 44 averaging less than four friends each.”

Obamamania books a place in record books (Reuters)

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JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) – At a thumb-numbing 5,472 pages, a book devoted to the life of Barack Obama is probably not going to be on the U.S. President’s list of beach reads, but its Indonesian author is hoping for interest from the White House.

Hailed by Indonesian record keepers as the world’s thickest book, “The Collection, Obama and Pluralism,” was unveiled by local author, director and artist, Damien Dematra to coincide with a visit by the U.S. president which ended on Wednesday.

At 34 cm (about 1 ft) thick, the hardbound tome chronicles snippets of Obama’s life in Jakarta. The U.S. president spent about four years in Indonesia as a child with his anthropologist mother from 1967 and during his visit spoke fondly of those days.

Jaya Suprana, curator of Indonesia’s records museum in a nation obsessed with record breaking, said the size of the book beats the previous international title holder — Agatha Christie’s “The Complete Miss Marple,” a relatively slender 4,032 pages.

Author Dematra, who credits the start of his “Obamamania” to a dinner he attended at the U.S. embassy, has already completed seven books and a movie about the U.S. president in less than a year.

Dematra good-naturedly shrugs off suggestions he is obsessed.

“I don’t mind; for me, the crazier, the better,” he said. “He is someone I’ve been inspired by, giving me more understanding on the potential of dreams and pluralism.”

Dematra’s book includes letters to Obama from students at his former school. One child with leukaemia wrote to Obama asking for help with medical treatment in the United States.

Other letters expressed admiration — and sympathy for the job.

“I think it’s not exciting to become a president. Just look at President SBY,” said one, a reference to Indonesian leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Every day he looks as if he has a headache. It must be even harder to lead the American people.”

Obama spent less than 24 hours in Jakarta on the second stop of his 10-day four-nation Asian tour. He flew on Wednesday to South Korea, where he attends a G20 summit.

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)