16 Янв, 2021

News digest for 01/15/2021

Facial recognition can help determine a person’s political views from photography, according to a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature.

It is noted that absolute accuracy is not guaranteed, however, in 72% of cases, the system manages to identify whether a person adheres to liberal or conservative values. During the training of the algorithm, its author Michael Kosinski used more than a million photographs, and the political views of the persons depicted in them were known for certain.

USA introduced visa restrictions for the PRC

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the measures extended to directors of several Chinese state-owned enterprises, officials from the Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. The State Department has previously imposed restrictions on CCP members.

Gazprom lost ground in Europe

The Russian energy company Gazprom lost its positions in Europe in 2020 due to sharply intensified competition. By the end of the year, the share of Russian gas in the EU fell from 36% to 33%.

The cost of taxi rides has increased in Russia

Taxi prices have increased significantly in Russia, writes Kommersant, citing data from Bank of America (BofA). According to analysts, in December 2020, taxi rides from the largest online aggregators Yandex.Taxi and Citymobil rose by 50-70 percent.

Sberbank reported falling profits in 2020

At the end of 2020, Sberbank’s net profit according to Russian standards amounted to 781.6 billion rubles. Sberbank set a goal for itself — to get a net profit of 1 trillion rubles. in 2020 (the indicators under IFRS and RAS may differ) — it was contained in the bank’s strategy for 2018-2020.

Ministry of Finance sees no reserves for serious tax cuts in Russia

Russia does not have the resources to significantly reduce the tax burden, said Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov. According to him, when compared with other countries, the level of the tax burden in the country is «far from prohibitive.»

The Ministry of Finance will buy currency for 106 billion rubles

The Ministry of Finance begins to buy foreign currency according to the budgetary rule. This will happen for the first time since March last year. For the period from January 15 to February 4, the Ministry of Finance will purchase currency for 106 billion 300 million rubles.

Egypt canceled a tender for the purchase of Russian wheat due to high prices

The export duty on Russian wheat has reduced the supply of suppliers. GASK has canceled a monthly tender scheduled for mid-January. As Bloomberg reports, the reason was the expectation of too high prices from suppliers

The Ministry of Agriculture proposed to increase the export duty on wheat

From March 15, it may increase to 45 euros per ton. In addition, the department intends to establish a duty on corn — 25 euros and on barley — 10 euros. The quota for grain exports from Russia is planned to be introduced from February 15 to June 30. Its volume will be 17.5 million tons.

Durov rejected investments of large funds in Telegram

The Bell’s sources close to the businessman told about Durov’s refusal to invest. It is not specified which funds have approached the entrepreneur with such a proposal. Investors valued the company at $ 30 billion — this is the first external assessment of Telegram in recent years.

Gas price for the population of Ukraine

The price of gas for the population of Ukraine will decrease by more than 30%, according to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday. The message emphasizes that the price for the population will be below the market

Hybrid aircraft engines will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have developed a version of an airplane engine that they estimate will eliminate 95% of nitrogen oxide emissions from aviation and thereby reduce the number of associated early deaths by 92%.

Earth enters the era of the sixth mass extinction

Scientists believe that climatic changes on the planet, as well as the threat of environmental disaster, indicate the entry of the Earth into the era of the sixth mass extinction. Moreover, if the authorities of the world powers do not take concrete actions, then humanity will have no chance of «survival».

Sea sponge helped set centuries-old climate records

Research Group of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rosensteel at the University of Miami (UM) used a 600-year-old sea sponge to set a record for ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic. This temperature shows not only past volcanic activity, but also the current global warming trend from the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

A basketball-sized sclerosponge (Ceratoporella nicholsoni) was collected at a depth of about 133 meters in the Exuma Sound in the Bahamas by senior study author Peter Swart, professor of marine geosciences at UM Rosenstiel.

Samsung introduced a series of flagship smartphones Galaxy S21

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S21 series of flagship smartphones. It also includes the S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra models. The appearance of the gadgets has changed compared to the previous series.

A trailer for the crime comedy «Swindler» has been published

A trailer for the crime comedy «Swindler» has been published. The video is available on YouTube. The film will tell about a swindler named Marla Grayson, who built a small criminal business on the guardianship of the elderly. The premiere will take place on February 19

Leading roles in the film adaptation of the novel «White Noise»

In the new film directed by Noah Baumback, Driver will again play, and Greta Gerwig will accompany him. It is also known that the tape is being filmed for Netflix, and production will start in June. In the story, a professor of the liberal arts college (Driver), who studies Hitler’s life, and his fourth wife (Gerwig) will face mortal danger caused by «air poisoning.»

Russian taxpayers have about 700 thousand foreign accounts, with over 13 trillion rubles. This was reported by the Federal Tax Service. They noted that this is only data on countries participating in the automatic exchange of tax information (the United States is not among them, for example). For comparison, the Russian budget for 2021 is 21.5 trillion rubles.

US Department of Commerce tightened control over technology

The US Department of Commerce has tightened export controls on American technologies so that they cannot be used by the military and intelligence services of Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela and a number of other countries. Also, the department is strengthening control over technologies that can be used in programs for creating weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. The new rules will come into force on March 16, 2021.

Biden’s proposed stimulus plan for the US economy

  • direct payments to Americans for $ 1.4 thousand
  • additional $ 160 billion for vaccination against coronavirus
  • $ 50 billion to expand COVID testing
  • $ 130 billion to open schools after the pandemic
  • full compensation of wages on sick leave for the vast majority of employees (maximum $ 1.4 thousand per week)
  • $ 175 billion in small business loans

There is no flu in Russia today

No cases of influenza infection have been recorded in Russia today. This was announced on Friday, January 15, by the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova at the Gaidar Forum.

We are already ready to forget what the flu is. In Russia, 60 percent of residents have already been vaccinated against it, we all follow the rules of protection against respiratory infectious diseases. Today there is no flu in the country, but today, let me remind you, it is already the middle of January. This has never happened before, — said the chief sanitary doctor of the country.

Dakar is over

  • The winner in the truck category is Dmitry Sotnikov, a Russian KAMAZ-Master
  • Two Honda racers finished first — Argentine Kevin Benavides won
  • Argentinean Manuel Andujar, he became the leader in the ATV classification
  • Frenchman Stephane Peteransel won the SUV category for the eighth time. In total, he won 14 times: the first six times — in the motorcycle classification.

Changing the type of punishment is common practice

The appeal of the Moscow Federal Penitentiary Service to the court to replace Alexei Navalny with a type of punishment is a common practice in relation to those who have committed gross violations of the conditions of serving a sentence not related to imprisonment, Anatoly Yakunin, deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, told TASS.

So far, we have only sent materials to the court to replace the conditional sentence with real imprisonment for systematic gross violations on the line of the criminal executive inspection, taking into account the fact that he constantly violated the conditions of the probationary period, «Yakunin said. Answering a TASS question, he noted, that “this is a common practice, everyone should be equal before the law.

US blacklisted Xiaomi

According to the US, Xiaomi is associated with the PRC military. By decree of President Donald Trump, American citizens and companies are prohibited from buying securities of such companies.

A military parade was held in the DPRK.

and it was presented with a new weapon — a ballistic missile for submarines, according to the Central Telegraph Agency of Korea. Reuters reports that it may be about the Pukguksong-5 missiles — an upgraded version of the Pukguksong-4, which was shown at a large military parade in October 2020.

Pavel Zelensky, operator of the Anti-Corruption Fund, detained in Moscow

As Pavel Chikov, head of the international human rights group Agora, writes in his telegram channel, Zelenskiy is accused of calling for extremism on the Internet. The reason was his tweet about the suicide of journalist Irina Slavina.

Seychelles is open to all tourists

Seychelles has allowed free entry to tourists from any country who have been vaccinated against coronavirus. To enter, you need to provide a certificate of two doses of vaccine received (which one is not specified), as well as a negative PCR test for coronavirus, done no later than 72 hours before the trip.

The number of bankrupt Russians

The number of declared bankrupt citizens has grown by 72.6%, according to the release of the project «Fedresurs». In 2020, according to Fedresurs, almost 95% of bankruptcies occurred at the initiative of the citizens themselves, in 2019 this share was 90.7%.

The segment of consumer bankruptcies continued to grow rapidly. The number of citizens (including individual entrepreneurs) declared bankrupt in 2020 amounted to 119 thousand 49, which is 72.6% more than in 2019, the material says.

In total, over the period of existence of the consumer bankruptcy procedure, from October 2015 to the end of 2020, 282.3 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation became insolvent