9 Dec, 2020

News digest for 12/08/2020

Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are named by the United States among ten countries of particular concern in the area of ​​violations of religious freedom.

The United States identifies Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of particular concern under the definitions of the International Religious Freedoms Act 1998, as amended, as they participate or suffer “a systematic, ongoing, egregious violation of religious freedom,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department.

It is noted that Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia are included in a special watch list for countries whose governments have engaged in or committed “serious violations of religious freedom.”

Meanwhile, Sudan and Uzbekistan have been removed from a special watch list based on “significant, concrete progress made by their governments over the past year,” the State Department said.

Ex-president of Czech Republic fined for mask on chin

Ex-Czech President Vaclav Klaus was fined for a mask on his chin. This is reported by Czech TV. The politician lowered his mask at an event in the center of Prague dedicated to the anniversary of the anti-communist “Velvet Revolution”.

Moscow and Beijing signed a cooperation program

The press service of the mayor and the capital’s government informed that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Beijing Mayor Chen Jining have signed a program of cooperation between the governments for 2021-2023. According to the document, it is planned to continue the exchange of experience between the two capitals in the fight against the pandemic.

Cadillac dealerships in the USA refused to sell electric cars

It became known that 150 dealerships of the Cadillac brand in the US market refuse to contribute money to the promotion of electric vehicles. General Motors has long had plans to prepare dealerships for the sale of electric vehicles.

MicroStrategy buys bitcoins

Software maker MicroStrategy, which has already invested $ 450 million in bitcoin, plans to raise another $ 400 million for the same purpose. In a press release, the company announced that it will issue convertible bonds with maturities until December 15, 2025.

Turkey issues warrant to detain military for ties with Gulen

The Turkish Izmir prosecutor’s office has issued a warrant for the detention of 304 military personnel, including 295 active, on suspicion of links with opposition preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused of organizing a coup attempt, Anadolu reports.

IKEA will stop releasing its printed catalog

The Swedish furniture manufacturer decided to focus on the electronic version. IKEA will discontinue its annual printed catalog, which has been published for 70 consecutive years. This decision was made by the Swedish furniture manufacturer due to the fact that buyers began to use the site more often.

Bastrykin announced an increase in the number of criminal cases of corruption

Since the beginning of 2020, the Investigative Committee of Russia has opened more than 15.2 thousand criminal cases on corruption, which is 4% more than in 2019. This was announced on December 8 by the head of the department Alexander Bastrykin

RBC: Russians were warned about the rise in price of beef

Beef prices this year set a new record, having risen by 17.5 percent in nine months, RBC reports with reference to the National Union of Meat Processors. A slight correction was observed from February to May this year, after which they began to grow again.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Russia does not expect an increase in meat prices

The Ministry of Agriculture of Russia does not expect an increase in prices for beef during the transition from tariff quotas on imports of this meat to a “flat” duty, which is planned in 2022, the ministry said in a statement.

Russians are attracting foreign markets for a residence permit

Analysts from the Tranio online database told Kommersant that Russians rushed to buy housing for the sake of passports, in particular in Greece, where Russian demand has grown by 20 percent since the beginning of the year. Knight Frank told the publication that due to a sharp increase in interest in passport programs, the number of transactions in Greece, as well as in Portugal and Spain, could increase by 20 percent over the year. In addition, real estate in Cyprus is popular – the country suspended the issuance of “golden passports” to foreigners in November, but Russians buy housing there to obtain a residence permit.

Assistance to backbone companies will be extended until 2021

The program of targeted support for strategic companies will be extended until 2021. This decision was made at a meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, two sources close to the Cabinet of Ministers told Izvestia.

The head of Sibur explained Shamalov’s deal with the company’s shares

The payment of $ 100 for the securities of Sibur by Kirill Shamalov was a formal part of the deal, which contained several more conditions that the top management of the company agreed on within the framework of the incentive program with its owner Leonid Mikhelson, the head and shareholder of Sibur Dmitry Konov told RBC

Tesla is already worth $ 600 billion

Tesla shares hit $ 640 on Monday, pushing the company’s market capitalization past the $ 600 billion mark, even though it was recently worth about $ 550 billion last week.

The government plans to introduce a tax on movable property

The government will work out the issue of introducing a tax on movable property, which was canceled on January 1, 2019. This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Alexei Lavrov at the annual meeting of the Chairman of the Federation Council with state secretaries – deputy heads of federal executive bodies, reports TASS.

The main directions of tax and customs-tariff policy for 2021-2023 approved by the Government contain provisions on considering the issue of refusal to exclude movable property from taxation objects while reducing the marginal rate of property taxation in general. Thus, the question will be worked out on the refusal of this benefit in principle, “Lavrov said.

The Accounts Chamber found violations when connecting to the Internet

The Accounts Chamber believes that Rostelecom did not draw up priority lists of organizations where it is necessary to conduct the Internet in the first place, for this reason, last year, paramedic and obstetric centers that were not equipped with computers were connected to the Network, and, therefore, could not use service. According to the Ministry of Finance, a total of 857 such points were found in 17 subjects, while, as the auditors indicated, the Ministry of Health has other data – 604 points in 19 subjects.

Exemption from export duties for oil produced in Taimyr

The State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes has supported the amendment, which exempts oil produced on the Taimyr Peninsula from export customs duties. Rosneft plans to form a new oil and gas province within the framework of the Vostok Oil project.

Putin declared the need to return the objects of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra to the Russian Orthodox Church

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova, announced the need to transfer the objects in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra to the Russian Orthodox Church. A transcript of this conversation is published on the Kremlin’s website.

Lyubimova told the president that a “deep” restoration of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra was beginning in St. Petersburg. The work will last until 2028.

“There are also some objects on the territory of the Lavra that need to be returned,” the president replied.

Sales of tours to Cyprus for the summer-2021 have opened

Tour operators believe that the recent announcement of the island’s authorities on a new procedure for the entry of foreign travelers makes it possible to say with great optimism that the 2021 season will take place on the destination.

Fuel producers close refineries

In 2020, plans were announced to close 11 refineries in different countries. Three businesses reported partial work stoppages, and at least five more are in trouble, according to analyst firm IHS Markit.

Two years in prison for the inscription “Let’s not forget” on the sidewalk

The court of the Frunzensky district of Minsk sentenced Maksim Pavlyushchik to two years in a general regime colony, who put the inscription “Let’s not forget” on the sidewalk near the Pushkinskaya metro station, where protest participant Alexander Taraikovsky died in August 2020.

Belarusian athletes about actions against Lukashenka and repressions

Athletes in Belarus, who were arrested for taking part in protests, released a video against repression and police brutality. Perhaps this is a response to the letter of Belarusian athletes published on November 24 in support of Alexander Lukashenko. The statement said that state support helped the athletes win international competitions. Later, some of the athletes said they were on the list against their own will.

Tikhanovskaya called on the United States to investigate the actions of the Belarusian security forces

The leader of the Belarusian opposition, ex-presidential candidate of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called on the United States to initiate an international investigation of the actions of the Belarusian security forces during the dispersal of protests

Yandex and Mail.ru Group topped the rating of mandatory software in Russia

Of the 29 applications required for preinstallation on devices sold in Russia, five services belong to Yandex and another 13 belong to Mail.ru Group. The companies’ applications became leaders in their categories of the rating, which was prepared by the Ministry of Finance for the government’s consideration.

Bioplastic that can be filled with boiling water

Manufacturing plastics from biomaterials rather than petroleum has a number of environmental benefits, but bioplastics tend to be of significantly lower quality. American scientists have figured out how to make boiling water can be poured into polylactide products.

Specialists at the University of Akron have modified the internal structure of polylactide. By changing the way the polymer crystals form and limiting their size to nanoscale, they were able to create an interwoven web of fibers. The resulting plastic turned out to be so strong, transparent and heat-resistant that the prototype cup, into which boiling water was poured, did not deform or become cloudy.

In the United States created a robot that can smell

Scientists from the Washington apparatus have created an unmanned aerial vehicle with real organs of smell. The tissue for the “transplant” was taken from a butterfly, according to IOP Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. The flying robot was named Smellicopter, a combination of the English words “smell” and “helicopter”. It is equipped with four screws and is small in size – it can fit in the palm of an adult

Weed killer robot created in Latvia

The Latvian University of Life Sciences and Technology has created a prototype of a robot that can control weeds and will be indispensable in a small farm, according to BBC News

Found a drug to completely cleanse the body of the herpes virus

Scientists at the University of Illinois were looking for new, more effective options for treating herpes and discovered a drug that, when combined with acyclovir, produces very promising results. The new drug was phenylbutyrate, approved for the treatment of rare enzyme deficiencies in humans.

Scientists have linked the melting of Greenland glaciers to the flow of mantle heat

Japanese scientists have found that a stream of hot rocks beneath central Greenland, known as a mantle plume, rising from the core-mantle boundary, contributes to thermal activity in the region and to warming in the Arctic in general. The study is published in two articles in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth

Fingerprints have become a unique evolutionary advantage of primates

What are the benefits of fingerprints? It is, as the researchers found out, in the regulation of humidity, thanks to which we can firmly hold objects with different surfaces in our hands. The authors of the new scientific work have found out exactly how the biological system works, which is also responsible for fingerprints.

The fact is, under the fingerprints, there is a complex system of sweat glands that controls moisture at the fingertips. Human fingers can “recognize” different types of surfaces, and be tuned for optimal quality of contact with the surface.

Apple showed full-size AirPods Max headphones

Apple has announced the AirPods Max, a large, on-ear Beats-style headphone with AirPods functionality. Buyers of the full-size wireless model are promised “superior sound quality in perfect harmony with the magical simplicity of AirPods.” In Russia, they ask for 62,990 rubles for a novelty

The sale of shields for routers to protect against Wi-Fi began

The Verge has found scammers on the network who sell shields for routers, ostensibly to protect users from the “harmful” radiation of Wi-Fi. In fact, they just block the signal

Putin signed laws on the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over international acts

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a package of laws establishing the priority of the Constitution of the Russian Federation over international agreements and decisions of interstate bodies on the territory of Russia. The documents were published on Tuesday on the official portal of legal information

On the possibility of recognizing individuals as foreign agents

The State Duma on Tuesday supported in the first reading a draft law on the regulation of foreign agents, developed by the commissions of the Federation Council and the Duma to prevent foreign interference in the affairs of the Russian Federation

“Map of Resistance” appeared in St. Petersburg

While more than 100 catering establishments have been entered into it, it is assumed that there will be up to 200 of them. These cafes, restaurants and bars do not intend to comply with the New Year’s restrictions.

Lukashenka will be banned from attending the Olympic Games.

The IOC made a preliminary decision to suspend representatives of the Olympic Committee of Belarus from participating in the events, said the head of the committee Thomas Bach. Also, Alexander Lukashenko’s son Viktor, the head of the Belarusian Olympic Committee, has been suspended from participation in events related to the Olympics.

Vladimir Putin signed several laws today:

  • On the specifics of telecommuting (will come into force on January 1, 2021)
    It says that employers must provide employees working remotely with equipment, pay for their travel and vacation in the general manner. The term of transfer to remote control will be limited to 6 months; it will also not be possible to cut the employee’s salary. The employee will have the right to be offline and not respond to calls from his superiors, but if this continues for more than two days, he can be fired.
  • About freezing the funded pension until the end of 2023.
  • On the extension of the “dacha amnesty” until March 1, 2026. Until that time, citizens will be able to register ownership of individual housing and garden houses in a simplified manner, without bureaucratic formalities with Rosreestr

In Kaluga, holy water and spiritual literature were brought to the patients of the covid station.

The deputy head of the regional Ministry of Health, Ilya Sovakov, who brought the priests, told Rise that it was the patients themselves who asked for this when a divine service was held in the red zone last time.

“After our friends priests made rounds in covid hospitals, the patients expressed a desire to read spiritual literature while undergoing treatment. Now sets of books and holy water for patients have been donated