Roundup #207

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 HopkinsNYTCovidTracking.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 MeetBlue 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 …

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