"There is a book and a newspaper on the box."
Translation:На коробке книга и газета.
It is correct, but the sentence with the "есть" focuses on the existence of an object of conversation. In most cases this word can be omitted, because if you say in Russian that some object / man is somewhere this already implies that it / he / she exists, thus the word "есть" is implied.
I tried it and it wasn't accepted. I last studied Russian almost 20 years ago, so I can't quite articulate why it doesn't work, but it actually doesn't sound right to me, anyway.
What's wrong with лежать? Can't I say "На коробке лежат книга и газета."?
I also wanted to write that, but I thought it was "лежят"? I also had another mistake in there... :)
As I understood it, «есть» is not necessary nor usual, but can be used to emphasize the existence of the objects. Is that correct? I selected both options and we marked wrong.
Strike that comment! I just noticed that the answer with «есть» in it used «коробку» instead of «коробке».
There is something very wrong with the new changes. In this particular discussion page, pressing the speaker button pronounces the ENGLISH translation rather than the RUSSIAN one. The focus should be on the Russian, not English. On other discussion pages, when you press the speaker button, the audio NO LONGER comes out. Some things were broken by the new changes. Problem is, I don't know how or where to report them. I'm putting it here in the hope that the moderators will see this. Fingers crossed.