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    Russia's population decline slows by third in first half of 2009

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    Depopulation rates in Russia slowed by 30.2% in the first six months of 2009 year-on-year, a Russian vice premier said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Depopulation rates in Russia slowed by 30.2% in the first six months of 2009 year-on-year, a Russian vice premier said on Tuesday.

    "About 850,000 children were born in the first half of 2009, that is 4.7% [38,000] more than in the same period of last year," Alexander Zhukov said.

    He also said that mortality rate had fallen by 3.7%, or 40,000 people.

    "Mortality rate improvement is evident in almost all types of diseases, with the exception of cancer," Zhukov said.

    High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, smoking and alcohol remain the main risks in Russia, he added.

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