Make a baby and win a brand-new SUV

When the Volga River region in central Russia launches an incentive program, it literally goes all the way. For the third straight year, the local government has decreed Sept. 12 to be an official “Day of Conception.” Couples get time off from work to procreate and can win prizes like cars, cash and appliances. (Russia’s population has dropped since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.) The old Communist work ethic lingers, however, and residents get only half a day off, so anyone calling in “sick” this afternoon is pretty much busted. The grand prize is an SUV (those are last year’s winners in the photo), but if that’s not enough motivation, there’s always to set the mood.

—Posted by David Gianatasio