(Jonas Karlsbakk/Barents Observer, 19 March 2012) -- In eight years the number of inhabitants in the Murmansk Region has decreased by 97,000 people. Depopulation due to young people who migrate south is a huge problem for Murmansk region, says Igor Chernyshenko in Murmansk Regional Duma. Today the number of inhabitants in Murmansk Oblast is 795,000 people, which is an 11 percent decline over the last eight years. However, if we look at the population decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the population has dropped from 1.2 million inhabitants in the late 1980s. According to Chernichenko there is nothing that indicate that the situation is about to change. "In the Soviet Union there were a lot of extra benefits for people living in the north. The wages were higher and we had an extra week of holiday. The benefits are now gone and the wages are the same as elsewhere in Russia," says Chernyshenko. With loss of benefits there has been a huge migration southwards, which also is the main reason for the population decline. Of the overall population decline, 84 percent is due to migration. The Murmansk region is also highly urbanized, with 93 percent of the people living in urban areas. Chernyshenko says that of the 795,000 people living in Murmansk Oblast, 243,000 people are senior citizens. The growing population of senior citizens has become a big challenge for Murmansk, as the main groups of people who migrate are young people. "When young people can have the same annual salary in more southern and central parts of Russia, they see no reason to stay in the cold Murmansk climate any more. So they move."
Posted 20 March 2012; 12:10:50 AM. Permalink
(Evgeniya Chaykovskaya/ The Moscow News, 15 March 2012) -- The Russia Academy of Sciences plans to clone a mammoth. The extinct mammal will be cloned by Japanese Kinki University, where scientists have been working on cloning pre-historic animals for 15 years, Interfax reported. The scientists could use Indian elephants as a basis instead of African, because their DNA is the closest to mammoths. The cloning will not be done by notorious South Korean geneticist Hwang Woo-suk, as was previously reported. Hwang Woo-suk was disgraced in the mid-2000s after it was found that he fabricated results of numerous experiments that were later published. Hwang Woo-suk has signed a contract with the North-Eastern Federal University, but only for studying the mammoth, and is unlikely to work on the mammoth cloning, the Siberian branch of science academy announced. The academy of sciences denied that the biological materials for cloning have already been sent abroad, arguing that there were a lot of formalities to take care of first. It will be sent to Kinki University no sooner that autumn. The remains of baby mammoth Yuka were discovered by hunters in the summer of 2010 on the shore of the Laptev Sea in Yakutia, close to Yukagir village (that gave the name to the mammoth). At the moment, the perfectly-preserved remains of the 200-kilogramm animal are stored in a local institute. Two more remains were found next to Yuka – a bison and a horse. The world’s leading palaeontologists examined the remains between Feb. 27 and March 2, and determined the animals’ gender, approximate age, and how long ago they lived. The baby mammoth Yuka was a female, up to 160 cm tall, and was four to five years old. The ancient bison was a four-year-old male, and the horse a five-to-six year old female. The baby mammoth spent 9,000 to 10,000 years in the ground, while the bison and the horse – 3,000 to 4,000. Scientists established that Yuka and the horse were killed by cave lions.
Posted 20 March 2012; 12:02:24 AM. Permalink