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The Star Online: World Updates


Death toll in Yemen blast rises to at least 110

Posted: 28 Mar 2011 07:03 AM PDT

ADEN (Reuters) - The death toll in an explosion at a south Yemen bullet factory on Monday rose to at least 110, and more bodies were expected to be recovered, doctors said.

They said the dead in the blast in the southern town of Jaar included woman and children in addition to many men.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Cynthia Johnston)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Russia's population falls during Putin's decade

Posted: 28 Mar 2011 07:03 AM PDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's population declined by nearly 3.4 million over the past decade, a census showed on Monday, offering more evidence that Russian economic growth will lag behind that of rival emerging powers China and India.

A census-taker (R) fills in forms at an orphanage during a nationwide population count in the city of Barnaul in Altai region October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Andrei Kasprishin/Files)

The Kremlin has tried to boost population growth, fearing that fewer births in an ageing population will sap the economy, especially with a pension age of 55. The demographic black hole is expected to take 1 million workers out of the economy every year until 2017.

A nationwide census carried out in October 2010 showed that Russia's population fell to 142.9 million from 145.2 million in 2002, when the last census was taken, and from 146.3 million in 2001, according to Russia's Federal Statistics Service.

The declining population is a major feature of long-term models which indicate Russia's growth will lag far behind BRICS rivals China and India. The grouping also includes top emerging market performers Brazil and South Africa.

Russia's population decline started in 1995, shortly after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Birth rates and life expectancy plummeted amid the chaos of the 1990s.

The 2010 census shows that an economic boom, fuelled by rising oil and commodity prices, over which Vladimir Putin presided as Kremlin chief from 2000 to 2008 has had little impact on Russia's demographics.

Russia's economy soared from $200 billion in 1999, a year before Putin took office, to $1.7 trillion in 2008.

U.S. bank Goldman Sachs predicts that Russia's economy will grow by between 1.5 and 4.4 percent a year from 2011 to 2050, roughly half as fast as China and India.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who was head of special programmes aimed at expanding the population before he was steered into the presidency by his mentor Putin, said Russia may be beating population decline.

State statistics showed that Russia's population was 141.9 million in 2009, indicating a rise of nearly 1 million people last year.

The first census in 1897 of the Russian Empire, which was similar in size to the Soviet Union, counted a population of 125.6 million people.

The census data showed Russia's already sparsely-populated Far East had declined the most, with the population falling 6 percent from the last census to 6.291 million as young people move to bigger cities in search of jobs.

Economic migrants from former Soviet countries in the Caucasus and central Asian regions have helped make up for falling birth rates in the past, though demographers have said more must be done to encourage migration.

But far from encouraging migration, violence in Russia against ethnic minorities has deterred most non-Slavic migrants.

Last year police struggled to contain nationalist youths protesting the death of a football fan killed by a North Caucasus native. The youths grew violent, attacking non-Slavic looking passengers on a rampage through the Moscow metro.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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