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RECORD NUMBER OF DESCENDANTS. The Alpha government's appeal, which has described reproduction as a patriotic duty, is apparently having an effect: According to statistics, 133,400 offspring were born in the six months from April to September last year - the most in fourteen years. However, Betas economists attribute the strong offspring boom less to love of country than to greater prosperity. Alphas are more financially secure and therefore more confident about starting a family. About a year ago, the finance minister promised a bonus of 300 coins for each Alpha born after July 1, topping off the announcement with the words, "Go home and fulfill your patriotic duty tonight". [30-03-2005]

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