BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- In an effort to fight Russia's birthrate crisis, a region on the Volga River about 550 miles east of Moscow has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third-straight year is giving couples time off from work to have sex. (Wow! I think I should go look for a job in Russia. I don't have to call in sick. I can call in horny! 'Hey, boss, I won't make it into work today. No, I'm not sick. I'm gonna screw my husband blind today.')
Ulyanovsk has held similar contests since 2005. And since then, the number of competitors, and the number of babies born to them, has risen. The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia's national day. Couples who "give birth to a patriot" during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes. (And those festivities would include stretch mark contests? Gurney races through labor wards? Tests of endurance like who can handle the worst contractions with the fewest drugs?)
Russia has one-seventh of the Earth's land surface, but only 141.4 million citizens, making it one of the most sparsely settled countries in the world. Because of a low birthrate and very high death rate, the population has been declining since the early 1990s. (Like I said at TLP's, take notice of where this was reported...China...where they penalize you for having more than one child. I say we tip Asia sideways by raising China several thousand feet and let some of the excess Chinese roll into Russia. That should even out the populations in both countries a bit. Of course no one ever asks for MY solutions)
In his state of the nation address last year, President Vladimir Putin called the demographic crisis the most acute problem facing Russia and announced a broad effort to boost Russia's birthrate, including cash incentives to families to have more than one child. ('Broad effort?' Why do I imagine all sorts of Mae West types out there encouraging hook-ups. 'Say, comrade...is that a hammer and sickle you're packing or are ya just happy to see me?')
Now in the interest of promoting cross cultural understanding I say we all, no matter of location or national origin, join in the celebration of National Sex Day. Gentlemen, start your engines!
In other news...
Wednesday September 12, 10:54 AM
London, Sep 12 (ANI): Chocolate has already been linked with many health benefits, and now, a food scientist has given chocoholics another reason to savour their favourite sweet by suggesting that dark chocolate prevents heart disease. But the finding doesn't call for a cocoa binge; for Professor Roger Corder says that eating 'small amounts' of chocolate each day has "considerable potential to improve health and well being". (Then eating large amounts should have even better benefits)
He added that his research, based on studies of tribes in Central America whose diet is exceptionally rich in cocoa, has confirmed that these boost the elasticity of blood cells, and also cuts down the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes and heart disease. "Chocolate should be part of a balanced diet. (You read it here, folks!) It can't be your fruit and vegetable component of a chips and pizza diet. Lindt 85 per cent is what I have been eating. Their 75 per cent Ecuadorian chocolate is also very good," the Daily Mail quoted him, as stating at the British Association Festival of Science in York. Another study in the US has found that dark chocolate may also ward off age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly, and dementia. (I dunno, a really good piece of chocolate can make my eyes roll back in my head and make me forget my surroundings.)
And still more news...
TOKYO (AFP) - Generations have praised the wisdom of getting up early in the morning, but a Japanese study says early-risers are actually at a higher risk of developing heart problems.
The study, conducted by researchers from several universities and hospitals in the western Japanese city of Kyoto, revealed a link between wake-up times and a person's cardiovascular condition. "Rising early to go to work or exercise might not be beneficial to health, but rather a risk for vascular diseases," said an abstract of the study. The study, covering 3,017 healthy adults aged between 23 through 90, found that early risers had a greater risk of heart conditions including hypertension and of having strokes. However, the study also noted that early risers were usually older. The study is being presented this week at the World Congress of the World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies, being held in Cairns, Australia. A separate study released in June by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that chronic sleep deprivation adds stress to the heart, putting a person at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and death. (If you'll excuse me, I need to go take a cardiac protecting nap...right after my husband and I take a bath in molten dark chocolate and lick each other clean.)