Saratov-based newspaper threatened with closure over cartoon of Putin as Soviet spy in Nazi uniform

first_img Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearing RussiaEurope – Central Asia News News RussiaEurope – Central Asia Reporters Without Borders today called on the regional court of the southern city of Saratov to act judiciously and avoid being manipulated when it rules on 2 October on a bid by the pro-Putin United Russia party to get the Saratovsky Reporter newspaper closed for “insulting” President Putin in a cartoon on its front page. June 2, 2021 Find out more to go further Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption Follow the news on Russia Receive email alerts Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown News RSF_en Help by sharing this information May 21, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders today called on the regional court of the southern city of Saratov to act judiciously and avoid being manipulated when it rules on 2 October on a bid by the pro-Putin United Russia party to get the Saratovsky Reporter newspaper closed for “insulting” President Putin in a cartoon on its front page. The cartoon, published on 31 August, was a montage that imposed Putin’s face on a photograph of Otto von Stirlitz, a fictional Soviet spy in Nazi Germany who was the leading character of a popular Russian TV series “17 Moments Of Spring.” “Under no circumstances does an insult constitute acceptable grounds for closing a news media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The right to insolence and excess is an integral part of press freedom. As for the cartoon itself, the complaint mentions only that it shows President Putin in a Nazi uniform. It ignores that fact that Stirlitz was an extremely popular character and that the cartoon alludes to Putin’s years as a KGB intelligence officer in East Germany.”The complaint against the newspaper was brought by one of United Russia’s representatives, Alexandre Lando, under article 319 of the criminal code concerning “insulting a state representative.” Lando said the cartoon was “offensive to the president and to (me) as a voter. The region’s directorate for cultural affairs said that it has withdrawn the newspaper’s licence as a result of the complaint.The prosecutor wrote to Saratovsky Reporter editor Sergei Mikhailov informing him that the newspaper had been given two warnings, one of which concerned an article published on 23 February. The newspaper insists it never received any notification of this. Under Russia’s law on extremism, a court can order a newspaper’s closure after it has been given two warnings.Mikhailov told privately-owned Radio Echo of Moscow that the aim of these measures was to put an end to press freedom in Saratov, and he could not sit back and let it happen.The 23 February article was about inter-ethnic relations in Russia. An expert report issued by a Saratov university at the prosecutor’s request deemed it to be “offensive” to the Jewish community. Organisation September 28, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Saratov-based newspaper threatened with closure over cartoon of Putin as Soviet spy in Nazi uniform News May 5, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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BengalsRavens — On A Thursday Night — Is The Most Important Game

Just one week into the NFL season, it’s hard to know exactly which teams will be contenders and which will be focused on their spot in the draft next spring. So it probably seems too early to be discussing playoff implications — a conversation that’s usually on hold until Thanksgiving. But in a 16-game schedule, the margins are small, and each game has a big effect on the postseason picture. Week 2 is no different — after all, the season will be 12.5 percent over after Monday night.Thursday’s AFC North tilt between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens is one of those early season contests that could end up having real postseason consequences. In fact, our NFL Elo prediction model considers it the most important game of Week 2. (Remember when Thursday Night Football was a place to stash the NFL’s unwanted matchups?) With a win, each team’s chances of making the playoffs would jump by about 15 percentage points, while the loser would see a commensurate decline. Especially after the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers stumbled out of the gate without star RB Le’Veon Bell, the chance to jump out to a 2-0 start is a big opportunity for both Baltimore and Cincy. SEA40.311.8CHI14.67.219.1 Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 1Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 1 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game PIT53.812.1KC74.89.922.0 Bengals-Ravens could help make or break their seasonsWeek 2 games with the most total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo predictions ARI61ARI55WSH 24, ARI 6+4.8– BAL59.0%+/-15.1CIN39.6%+/-14.829.9 NYJ39.013.3MIA30.312.926.2 6Minnesota4023,1180 NE86NE77NE 27, HOU 20-6.3– 1Washington4223,6423 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 8San Francisco3831,0285 DAL33.58.1NYG6.44.112.2 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total Change The Bengals always get competent QB play — but no ringsMost seasons with positive yards above backup quarterback (YABQ) for NFL franchises, 1970-2017 DEN30.010.5OAK14.37.918.4 TEN30.49.7HOU15.28.117.9 WSH39.17.9IND9.94.112.0 NO74NO82TB 48, NO 40-13.5– PHI65PHI57PHI 18, ATL 12-9.6– The Ravens come into the matchup off of a 44-point demolition of the Buffalo Bills, which propelled Baltimore from 12th to eighth in our Elo rankings. With the Bills starting the comically ineffective Nathan Peterman at QB, it’s difficult to judge how much we really learned about the Ravens in the blowout. But it had to be encouraging for Baltimore fans to see Joe Flacco play well, regardless of the opponent. At home against Buffalo, Flacco generated 119 more adjusted net yards than a generic backup-level quarterback would have (aka yards above backup QB, or YABQ), which ranked sixth among all signal-callers in Week 1 — behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.In terms of YABQ, this game also represented the third-best that Flacco has enjoyed since Week 3 of the 2015 season, which helps underscore how bad Flacco has been in recent years. For instance, last season the Ravens had the third-worst quarterbacking production of any team in the league, with Flacco’s individual metrics in a three-year tailspin. For a team that featured one of the NFL’s best defenses last season, any spark that Flacco and the offense can provide could go a long way toward sending Baltimore back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. And in their first test against the overmatched Bills, Flacco and the revamped Ravens receiving corps passed with flying colors.A somewhat similar narrative is unfolding in Cincinnati. With much-maligned QB Andy Dalton embarking on his eighth season as the Bengals’ starter (and coach Marvin Lewis back for an astonishing 16th year on the team’s sidelines), Cincy went into Indianapolis and beat Andrew Luck and the Colts thanks to solid passing and rushing, plus timely defensive plays late in the game. Aside from maybe Flacco, few quarterbacks in the league needed to start the season on the right foot more than Dalton, who infamously has never won a playoff game during his time in the Queen City.A win over Baltimore on Thursday won’t change that — perhaps surprisingly, Dalton has beaten the Ravens more often than not anyway — but it would help quiet the doubts that Dalton’s best days are behind him. Since he finished third in the league in YABQ in 2015 (despite suffering a season-ending injury that December), he slipped to 11th in 2016 and 21st in 2017, and the Bengals didn’t make the playoffs either year. With a defense that projects to be mediocre at best, Cincinnati needs Dalton to reverse that slide in order to have any shot at the postseason — and probably to have any chance at salvaging the Dalton/Lewis era.The great irony of the Bengals is that their quarterbacking has always been just good enough to come up short. While the Ravens have won two Super Bowls behind a couple of QBs (Flacco and Trent Dilfer) who were below-average passers for their careers, Cincinnati has consistently had average-to-good passing over the years, aside from a few notable exceptions. Just look back at the Bengals’ history of primary quarterbacks: 40 of their 47 seasons since 1972 have been led by five quarterbacks — Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Blake, Carson Palmer and Dalton. Although none is in the Hall of Fame (Anderson’s case is a point of contentious debate), each rates as average or better in his career according to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s advanced passing index.That’s why, from the 1970 AFL-NFL merger until the present day, no team has gotten more seasons of “competent” (above-backup level) quarterbacking than the Bengals have: OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION MIN76MIN71MIN 24, SF 16-5.3– GB63GB71GB 24, CHI 23+3.3– CAR60CAR60CAR 16, DAL 8-1.8– 7Denver3922,6483 3Miami4125,4802 3Dallas4128,3835 1Cincinnati4223,1280 LAC56LAC55KC 38, LAC 28-0.6– GB29.013.5MIN73.712.926.3 PIT79PIT76PIT 21, CLE 21+0.0 3Pittsburgh4118,7546 TB35.611.6PHI82.98.420.0 And yet, even though the teams around them on that list have won multiple Super Bowls, Cincinnati has yet to break through with even one win of its own.History says that’s unlikely to change this season. But it is fair to say that Dalton’s duel with Flacco this week has taken on unexpected importance for an early season game. The winner will ensure itself a quick boost in playoff chances — and an extra helping of redemption after the way both teams have played the past few seasons.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersLast week, we relaunched our NFL Elo prediction interactive, which you can use to track every team in the league in the race for the Super Bowl. Along with it, we also brought back a popular feature from last season — a prediction game that lets you test your football smarts against our model (and thousands of fellow readers). Here were Elo’s best and worst picks against the field in Week 1: IND50IND50CIN 34, IND 23-1.9– JAX58JAX62JAX 20, NYG 15+0.7– BAL64BAL72BAL 47, BUF 3+2.9– OAK50%LAR68%LAR 33, OAK 13+11.7– Overall, it was a pretty impressive opening week for Elo — in fact, our model cleaned up nicely, beating readers by 28.3 total points on average. This is especially surprising because Week 1 would seem to be the moment of the season when human pickers have the greatest edge on the algorithm. In our NFL preview, I noted that Elo can get caught a little flat-footed early in the season because it doesn’t know about all the roster and coaching moves that transpired over the summer. Theoretically, that should have made it as unprepared for Week 1 as Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions … but unlike the Lions, Elo proved the naysayers (i.e., me) wrong.Elo’s biggest win was in not dismissing the Buccaneers completely. While our readers gave the home Saints a better than 80 percent chance of winning, the model was more cautious, and it ended up paying off when Tampa (and backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) dropped 48 points on New Orleans. Elo also picked up credit for calling the Dolphins’ protracted win over the Titans and for once again showing faith in the Eagles (just like in last year’s playoffs).If the readers did have a crowning moment in Week 1, though, it was for calling the Rams’ big win over the Raiders in Oakland on Monday night. Elo thought the game was a pick ’em, but the readers knew better, giving L.A. a 68 percent chance of spoiling Jon Gruden’s return to the sidelines.Thanks to everyone who played on opening week, and remember that it’s not too late to start, even if you missed Week 1. So be sure to get your picks in now!Check out our latest NFL predictions. 8New England3825,4785 Playoff %Playoff % LAR58.110.9ARI14.17.918.8 SEA54SEA52DEN 27, SEA 24+0.0 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET points ATL51.114.1CAR52.413.928.1 NO27.84.2CLE2.41.25.4 *Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com LAC33.312.4BUF21.89.822.2 DET19.18.7SF22.28.417.1 8Philadelphia3816,0041 JAX64.310.8NE81.88.819.6 MIA53TEN55MIA 27, TEN 20-10.3– DET71DET71NYJ 48, DET 17-2.4– The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. FranchiseSeasons above backup level since 1970Total YABQSuper Bowls read more

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Bats may use magnetic polarity for navigation

first_img Lunar and solar eclipses make animals do strange things The finding may not only explain bats’ long-distance navigation and foraging abilities, but also may provide insight on when and how magnetic field detection evolved in mammals and non-mammals. So explain the researchers, Yinan Wang, Yongxin Pan, Stuart Parsons, Michael Walker, and Shuyi Zhang, who are from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, East China Normal University in Shanghai, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.“The fact that the only two flying vertebrates, bats and birds, do not derive the same information about direction from the Earth’s magnetic field despite apparently similar navigational requirements has very important implications for the evolution of the magnetic sense in vertebrates,” Parsons told PhysOrg.com. “I think it is likely that other mammals possess the ability to detect the field, i.e. have the physiological and anatomical specialization necessary. However, this does not mean that they actually use this information.”In their experiment, the scientists studied the reactions of Nyctalus plancyi bats in an experimental chamber when exposed to an altered magnetic field. The team recorded the hanging positions of the bats with an infrared camera, and then used Helmholtz coils to generate a magnetic field that aligned with the local geomagnetic axis at Beijing, where the experiment took place, with twice the intensity of Earth’s magnetic field. After exposing the bats to the induced magnetic field for several days, the researchers then altered the horizontal and vertical components of the field, both simultaneously and independently. As the group explained, altering the vertical field affects the magnetic inclination, while altering the horizontal field affects the magnetic polarity. Many birds and other non-mammals are known to react to inclination, meaning that they can use information about the different angles that the Earth’s magnetic field is tilted toward the Earth to determine relative latitude. For example, inclination is 90 degrees at the poles (perpendicular to the Earth) and 0 degrees at the equator (parallel to the Earth)—similar to the pattern that lead filings make when placed around a bar magnet. Some birds, like the Arctic Tern, use inclination to annually navigate all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back. However, unlike birds, the bats did not react to a change in the vertical field, implying that they do not use inclination when roosting or navigating. On the other hand, when the researchers altered the horizontal field, the bats changed their hanging positions, switching from the northern to the southern end of their basket. The scientists predict that magnetic polarity may help the bats in thermoregulation, since they choose warmer sites to control lactation and development, as well as to minimize the energy used during torpor (hibernation). If they used magnetic polarity in roosting, the scientists suggest, the bats are also likely use polarity to navigate, such as when Nyctalus noctula migrate up to 1600 km between seasons.How do they do it? The scientists explain that animals which use magnetism to navigate are generally thought to use light exposure, magnetite receptors, or both. For example, birds may use a light-dependent mechanism in the right eye for directional information, and a magnetite receptor in the upper beak for detecting variations in magnetic intensity. Most likely, bats use some kind of magnetite receptor. Why the two animals developed sensitivities to different magnetic information is still a question, however. Parsons speculated that an inclination compass may offer more tolerance for birds crossing the equator. Also, when the Earth’s magnetic field occasionally reverses, the birds will not be confused.“It has been suggested that the ability of birds to detect the inclination of the Earth’s magnetic field means that reversal of the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field will not affect the ability of birds, particularly migratory birds, to set compass courses because there will be a magnetic pole in each hemisphere and the birds will know the direction toward the near pole and the equator as a consequence,” added Walker. “In contrast, the fact that mammals appear to respond to magnetic polarity suggests they will know where magnetic north is but not which hemisphere they are in and may get misled following a reversal of the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field.”Another significant point from the experiments is that polarity alone is sufficient to navigate long distances. The research also suggests that inclination and polarity detection may have evolved independently in birds and mammals, which means the ability would have emerged after the evolutionary transition from land to air—and would also explain why humans are quite poor at navigating in the absence of a map and a GPS.Citation: Wang, Yinan, Pan, Yongxin, Parsons, Stuart, Walker, Michael, and Zhang, Shuyi. “Bats respond to polarity of a magnetic field.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0904. Copyright 2007 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Researchers have found that bats have a special ability to detect the polarity of a magnetic field, meaning that the creatures can tell the difference between north and south. The only other animal known to have this ability is the mole rat, while birds, fish, amphibians, and all other non-mammals possess a different version of the magnetic compass. Citation: Bats may use magnetic polarity for navigation (2007, September 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-09-magnetic-polarity.htmlcenter_img Experimental setup showing the bats’ roosting chamber, with the bats gathered at one end of the basket in response to the polarity of the induced magnetic field. Credit: Yinan Wang, et al. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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