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News of the Weird
 

Leading Economic Indicators


November 4th, 2010

In September, Russia's finance minister publicly urged citizens to step up their smoking and drinking, in that the government's new "sin" taxes mean more revenue.

In September, Russia's finance minister publicly urged citizens to step up their smoking and drinking, in that the government's new "sin" taxes mean more revenue: "If you smoke a pack of cigarettes," he said, "that means you are giving more to help solve social problems." (Alcohol abuse is already said to kill 500,000 Russians a year and to significantly lower life expectancy.)

Executive Brigitte Stevens announced in September that her perpetually underappreciated advocacy institution, Wombat Awareness Organization, had just been pledged $8 million by a single donor. According to Stevens, the $1 million annually she will receive in each of the next eight years is about 13 times the previous annual budget for the Mannum, South Australia, organization. The U.S. donor, who demanded anonymity, became interested in 2008 when, on an onsite visit, he was enthralled with "southern hairy-nosed" wombats.
 
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