New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard

… now: over 7.5 (+0.9m) million cases, 421k deaths
… 6/5: over 6.6 (+0.8m) million cases, 391k deaths
… 5/29: over 5.8 million cases, 360k deaths
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT, Covidtracking.com

Travel re-opening

Indonesia resumes domestic air travel.
… Greater Surabaya ends partial lockdown.
Bangladesh resumes international flights.
Slovakia allows travel from 16 countries.
Saudi Arabia considers limiting the hajj amid Covid-19 fears.

I am looking for new, good, regular news & analysis sources for North, East and West Africa.

N. Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266m)

Libya: Haftar says he’s ready for talks to end war
… saw the collapse this week of his 14-month campaign …
… Egypt offers new Libya plan
… Haftar got closer to Assad, Syrians fighting in Libya
… Turkey “secures a reprieve” from Haftar
Bottom line: a “frozen conflict” for the near future.

Morocco easing lockdown measures.

Tunisia may have beaten Covid-19.
… “and in the process strengthened its democracy” …

E. Africa/Horn (520m)

China’s business elite are sending masks to East Africa
… “a chance to repair China’s image, gain credit with Pres. Xi”

Talks resumed about the Blue Nile dam.

W. Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457m)

Nigeria: VOM report alleges 620 Christians killed in 2020
… around 12,000 killed over past 5 years? …
… Boko Haram + Fulani violence …

Nigerian group condemns rampant rape cases in the north.
Conflict-hit families in the North under lockdown, need aid.

W. Asia / Saudi-Iran (303m)

Turks stream out for first lockdown-free weekend in 2 months.

Kuwait to resume daily prayers at some mosques.

Saudi considers limiting hajj pilgrims amid Covid-19 fears.
… even apparently considering cancelling the hajj season
… and, wants to find a Yemen exit strategy.

Qatar begins phased re-opening.

Lebanon currency plunges, protests surge.

Syria’s Idlib war-wrecked province, readies for Covid-19.

Yemen’s qat markets full despite coronavirus threat.

South-central Asia (2.1b)

#India
Is hurtling into a coronavirus crisis: now 4th in the world.
… sees record 10,000 new cases in a single day
… hospitals are turning patients away.
Mask wearing worshippers in temples as India reopens
… in spite of rise in coronavirus cases …
“Worse than a war zone”: Covid-19 batters Mumbai.
… apps to help people find hospitals with empty beds …
… public hospitals in Delhi also full, turning people away …
… morgues over full …
… “attempting to balance health and hunger” …
… Mumbai has surpassed Wuhan’s peak

#Pakistan
‘Rolling emergency’ of locusts decimating Africa, Asia, Mideast.
… China could deploy 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to eat locusts.
… 1 duck = 200 locusts/day?! …
Pakistan hospitals running out of beds.
… WHO urges Pak. to reinstitute ‘intermittent’ lockdown

#Bangladesh
Covid cases spike 4-fold in a month.
How Covid ‘red zones’ work.
… food for 2 weeks, no mosques, text alerts

#Central Asia
Kazakhstan returns several towns to lockdown after Covid spike.

East Asia (1.6b)

#China
A ‘Golden Goose’ loses its luster: why willing to risk HK.
China’s spy agencies are coming to Hong Kong.
HK Christians respond as Beijing’s grip tightens.
“The disappeared”: China’s global kidnapping campaign.
US says it will allow China two passenger flights per week.

#Korea
North rules out more nuclear concessions.
… “will pursue weapons development”

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia holds firm on hajj cancellation.
… has seen hundreds of child deaths related to Covid.
… concern about a post-pandemic baby boom to poor families.

Malaysia bars citizens from the hajj.

Singapore’s Changi Airport sets up new transit holding area.
… preparing for the resumption of transit passenger services …

Europe/North America (1,125m)

New Zealand is Covid-19 free.

New York eases restrictions, 400k to return to work.

New Data

ChinaSource Quarterly: Doing mission with Chinese characteristics.

Infographic: The State of Global Peace, 2020.
… global peacefulness has declined for the 9th time in 12 years …

New Learnings

The number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 is certainly an undercount. Some governments are taking steps to hide data.
… Brazil stopped releasing death tolls, wiped data from official site.
… South Asia: official Covid-19 numbers disguise undercounting.
… Most USA states don’t count probable positives.

Futuristics/Technology

Zoom shut down accounts of US-activists due to China:
… admits to shutting down accounts at request of China
… SCMP: “US-based Chinese dissidents
… Then, reactivated those accounts.
… “Ties under scrutiny after it muzzles human rights group
… Bill Bishop wants to know how they knew the activists were there
Zoom plans ability to block people based on location
… “to comply with requests from local authorities”

My alternatives: Google Meet, Blue Jeans.
… Google Meet has a new, fine-tuned presentations layout
… has debuted new background noise cancellation feature

Google Maps launches features for traveling during Covid-19
… only on trips affected by Covid-19 restrictions …

Delta going out of its way to make travel safe.
… what you can do when you have half as many people traveling? …

China’s oil demand has nearly returned to normal.
… second largest oil consumer, will affect oil prices & travel prices …

IBM pulls out of all facial recognition.
… fearing racial profiling, mass surveillance …
… Amazon: moratorium on police use of facial recognition tech
… Microsoft won’t sell face-recognition tech to US police
… but lots of other vendors sell the tech

Several articles related to protest security can also serve as inventories of security “how-tos” that can be helpful to field workers:
… How to hide faces & scrub metadata from photos
… and another catalog of similar tools to scrub faces
… Anonymous Camera is a new tool that anonymizes photos

#Surveillance: “Person re-identification” despite clothing changes.

Wired on how to get the most out of Signal and encrypted chat.

Inside Iran’s massive drone army.
… the most combat drones in the Middle East …