“The letter ё (yo) exists in very few languages, which makes it a unique and distinctive phenomenon of the Russian language and Russian culture.”
1. Russians aren’t just quietly pining away for their New Year’s trees: they put them up early and take them down late. A Russian psychologist attributes the former to fighting depression in the cold, dark Russian winter, and the latter to laziness. But she admits this might be barking up the wrong tree: Russians just like their yolki (pine trees). It made national news in at least 15 outlets that the Kremlin yolka has been selected from sixty contenders: a 90-year-old, 82-foot specimen from local Moscow Forests. Nearby Red Square, however, might outshine all other attempts prolong New Year’s tree, by leaving them up until they can stick suns on top and transform them into Maslenitsa trees… in March.
2. Here’s some news worth toasting to: in spite of stereotypes, Russians have cut alcoholism in half over the past 20 years, according to a report by the World Health Organization. A French newspaper Le Monde, noting that now Russians drink less than the French, praised Russia as an example that can help teach other countries how to reduce alcoholism. Some changes that gave Russia a shot at making such a transformation were laws like bans on advertising alcohol and selling at it night, as well as a cultural shift to cut back on shots of hard liquors in favor of beer or wine. This reduction in drinking has helped increase Russian life expectancy, and narrow the difference in life expectancy between men and women. That’s the (non-alcoholic) spirit! (PS: We totally called this story back in 2000).
3. This Thanksgiving, Moscow could be grateful for a lot. On Thursday, the Russian capital was named the world’s best tourist destination, beating out cities like New York and Paris, a distinction the mayor equated to winning an Oscar. Meanwhile, Moscow school children ranked third in the world in reading skills and second in math, according to the international testing organization PISA. They may have “only” ranked sixth in natural sciences, but the Moscow region is nevertheless making progress in environmental conservation: the governor announced that old trash processing centers can be closed thanks to better recycling. Looks like the city met their New Year’s resolutions early!
The debate between scientists and anti-vaxxers has become a blood feud. / Health Department of Moscow | YouTube
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