A conference of Russian, British, and French demographers is meeting today in Moscow with the participation of Russian officials to consider the causes of the country’s demographic crisis. Russia’s population is falling by an average of 1,300 per day and now stands at 147.2 million. High mortality rates and low birth rates are both to blame. Average male life expectancy now stands at 58 years — 16 years below that in European Union countries — and alcohol-related deaths have increased at least five-fold in Russia over the past decade. (AP, September 29; BBC World Service, September 30)
Shuttle Docks with Troubled Space Station.