Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to fly to Russia despite risks

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to fly to Russia despite risks
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny poses with his wife and children in this image taken from an Instagram video he released on Dec. 31, 2020. (Navalny Instagram account via AP)
Updated 13 January 2021

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to fly to Russia despite risks

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to fly to Russia despite risks
  • Alexei Navalny was airlifted to Germany for treatment in August after an alleged an attempt to murder him with a Novichok nerve agent

MOSCOW: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Wednesday he would fly back to Russia on Jan. 17 from Germany where he has been recovering after being poisoned, shrugging off potential legal risks that could see him jailed.
Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin’s leading critics, was airlifted to Germany for treatment in August after collapsing on a plane in what Germany and other Western nations say was an attempt to murder him with a Novichok nerve agent.
Russian authorities deny any involvement in the incident.
“It was never a question of whether to return or not. Simply because I never left. I ended up in Germany after arriving in an intensive care box for one reason: they tried to kill me,” Navalny wrote on Instagram.
“(President Vladimir Putin’s) servants are acting as usual by fabricating new criminal cases against me. But I’m not interested in what they’re going to do to me. Russia is my country, Moscow is my city and I miss it,” he wrote.
Navalny said he had probably almost fully recovered his health.
His announcement came a day after court documents showed Russian authorities had asked a court to jail him for allegedly breaking the terms of a suspended sentence for what he says was a politically-motivated conviction.
Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) last month ordered Navalny to immediately fly back, and to report at a Moscow office or be jailed if he failed to return in time.
He and his allies have accused Russian authorities of trying to scare him from returning ahead of parliamentary elections due to be held in September.
Russia has said it has seen no evidence he was poisoned and has denied trying to harm him. The Kremlin has said Navalny is free to return to Russia at any time like any other Russian citizen.


US leading race in artificial intelligence, China rising

US leading race in artificial intelligence, China rising
Updated 3 min 10 sec ago

US leading race in artificial intelligence, China rising

US leading race in artificial intelligence, China rising
WASHINGTON: The United States is leading rivals in development and use of artificial intelligence while China is rising quickly and European Union is lagging, a research report showed Monday.
The study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation assessed AI using 30 separate metrics including human talent, research activity, commercial development and investment in hardware and software.
The United States leads, with an overall score of 44.6 points on a 100-point scale, followed by China with 32 and the European Union with 23.3, the report based on 2020 data found.
The researchers found the US leading in key areas such as investment in startups and research and development funding.
But China has made strides in several areas and last year had more of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers than any other nation — 214, compared with 113 for the US and 91 for the EU.
“The Chinese government has made AI a top priority and the results are showing,” said Daniel Castro, director of the think tank’s Center for Data Innovation and lead author of the report.
“The United States and European Union need to pay attention to what China is doing and respond, because nations that lead in the development and use of AI will shape its future and significantly improve their economic competitiveness, while those that fall behind risk losing competitiveness in key industries.”
The EU lagged notably in venture capital and private equity funding, while faring better in terms of research papers published.
The report found China published some 24,929 AI research papers in 2018, the latest year for which data was available, to 20,418 for the European Union and 16,233 for the United States.
But it said that “average US research quality is still higher than that of China and the European Union.”
The survey also concluded that the United States “is still the world leader in designing chips for AI systems.”
To remain competitive, the report said, Europe needs to boost research tax incentives, and expand public research institutes working on AI.
For the United States to maintain its lead, it must boost support for AI research and deployment, and step up efforts to develop AI talent domestically while attracting top talent from around the world.