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Soviet Union notes rise in its infant mortality

Over the past two decades there has been an apparent rise in infant mortality of at least 13 percent in the Soviet Union, says Alexander Smirnov of the Department for Social Problems and Population at the State Planning Committee. But he said he was convinced the increase reflected more efficient methods of gathering statistics, especially in the central Asian republics, where the increase was most marked. In addition, he said, average life expectancy fell slightly from 70 to just over 69 years, due in part to the increased infant mortality figures for Central Asia, industrial accidents, and the abuse of alcohol. This was the first public admissio n that life expectancy has decreased.

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