Roundup 265

New Events

Northern Africa (266m)

Do Tunisians still want democracy? WPost
— They support president’s emergency measures, which seem to undermine the goal
Tunisia issues arrest warrant for former presidential candidate. Al Jazeera
Could Tunisia be heading down the same route as Lebanon? Africa Report
Tunisians fret at president’s silence on future. Reuters
— a week after he indefinitely prolonged emergency measures…
Populist hero or demagogue: who is Tunisia’s president? NYT

East Africa (520m)

Tigray crisis ‘set to worsen dramatically,’ UN warns. AFP
Tigray rebels loot USAID humanitarian warehouses. Vatican
Ethiopia’s economy battered by war, could take years to repair. BBC
The war against Tigray could splinter Ethiopia like Yugoslavia. OpEd
— “~half the Ethiopian army was based in Tigray, consisting largely of ethnic Tigrayans”
— “he was making a direct attack on what is practically an African Sparta”
— “resorted to a blockade to starve Tigrayans out; Tigray countered w/invasion of Amhara”
— “now within striking distance of the roads that carry 95% of import/export traffic”
— some Tigrayans may be considering an invasion of Eritrea

West + Middle Africa (600m)

Almost 6,000 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered, Nigerian army says. Reuters
— 350k died in the conflict since it began 12 years ago.
What Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram say about living with ex-fighters. Link
— “It’s very difficult to forget what they did to us.”
Schools in Nigerian state shut after mass kidnapping of students. CNN
— More than 1,100 students have been kidnapped across NW since Dec 2020. NBC

“War is stripping civilians of all hope in the Sahel.” Reliefweb

Western Asia (303m)

In Picture: Disaster looms in Syria as Euphrates dwindles. Al Jazeera
An eyewitness account of a failed state: Lebanon. Al Arabiya

South + Central Asia (2b)


Some long read analysis & recounting
In Afghanistan, an unceremonious end, and a shrouded beginning. NYT
Afghanistan’s arc from 9/11 to today: once hopeful, now sad. AP
Surprise, panic and fateful choices: the day America lost its longest war. WPost

Fear grows
Amid violent reprisals, Afghans fear the Taliban’s ‘amnesty’ was empty. BBC
As the Taliban tighten their grip, fears of retribution grow. NYT
— promised amnesty, but increasing reports of detentions, disappearances, executions
Fear and anticipation on the streets of Kabul as Afghans adapt to Taliban rule. WPost
Panjshir: the valley trying to hold off the Taliban. BBC.

Refugees in nearby countries
A $300 million refugee preparedness and response plan from UNHCR. Link
— anticipates >0.5m crossing into border countries

The role of Turkey, Qatar
Turkish officials say deportation centers packed with Afghan refugees. VOA
Qatar and Turkey become Taliban’s lifeline to the outside world. BBC
Qatar emerges as key player in Afghanistan after US pullout. AP
— being asked to help shape what is next for Af. because of its ties to both US & Taliban

‘No one has money.’ Under Taliban rule, Af. banking system is imploding. CNN
Short on money, legal and otherwise, the Taliban face a crisis. NYT
“We don’t have any money”: Taliban takeover plunges Af. into economic turmoil. RFE
Taliban to rely on Chinese funds, spokesperson says. Al Jazeera

About those biometric devices
Biometric data and the Taliban: what are the risks? New Humanitarian, Long interview
The real story of the Afghan biometric databases abandoned to the Taliban. MIT
— devices only provide limited access to biometric data held remotely on secure servers.
— “greater danger from Afghan govt databases containing sensitive personal information”
First interview with terror leader hunting Americans and allies in Af. Zenger
— to “positively identify anyone who helped the NATO allies or worked with Indian intel.”
US-built biometric system sparks concerns for Afghans. NBC
— “Def Dept: taken prudent steps to make sure … does not fall into the Taliban’s hands.”
The Taliban have seized U.S. military biometrics devices. Intercept

Central Asia

Uzbekistan declining Af. visa requests, warns crossings ‘harshly suppressed.’ Newsweek


Government clamps down on Kashmir after separatist leader’s death. WPost
— troops deployed, Internet access cut off yet again (they went months in 2019).
As extreme poverty returns, India sees surge in child slavery. Al Jazeera
India’s great coronavirus mystery: why so many cases in Kerala? SCMP
— no clear answers. Could be Kerala is too honest with figures & good at catching cases.
Vaccinations in rural India increase amid supply concerns. AP

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

In China, ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ is the only accepted religion. Diplomat
— to understand China’s crackdown on religion, look beyond repression of any single faith.
China’s after-school crackdown wipes out many jobs overnight. CNBC

Southeast Asia (700m)

Thousands join Bangkok rally demanding PM resignation. Al Jazeera
Tourism authority in Thailand will ease Covid-19 restrictions from 1 September. Link
— interprovincial travel permitted, please avoid unnecessary travel
— Chiang Mai remains in “red” zone – no gatherings of more than 50 people.
Vietnam struggles to keep manufacturing hub Binh Duong open as cases surge. SCMP

The West

Nigerian students amass degrees to stay in Europe. BBC
US effort to resettle Afghan refugees faces major hurdles. CBS
— thousands arrive without approved visas, placing them in legal limbo
— ineligible for some federal social programs available to those admitted as refugees
European Union recommends new travel restrictions for unvaccinated Americans. WPost

New Data

Covid global case data data

At current pace, 300m cases by Jan. 28.
… 9/03: 219.3m (+4.5m) cases, 4.55m deaths
… 8/27: 214.8m (+4.6m) cases, 4.47m deaths
… 8/20: 210.2m (+4.6m) cases, 4.40m deaths
… 8/13: 205.6m (+5.1m) cases, 4.33m (2%) deaths
… 8/06: 200.5m (+4.4m) cases, 4.26m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Where refugees are going: a visualization of UNHCR data. Quartz *
— unfortunately, may be behind a paywall for some.

World Meteorological Organizations’ new Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water extremes: 11,000 disasters, 2 million deaths, $3.64 trillion in losses. Downloadable PDF.

New Longreads

Every single cognitive bias in one infographic. Visual Capitalist
— great high-resolution graphic, I saved it into my Zettlekasten.

Afghanistan is over. [The Sahel] looms in the ‘war on terror.’ CSM
— 20 years after 9/11, jihad terror rises in Africa. Brookings
— Over 48,000 people missing in Africa due to violence, armed conflicts, migration. Link

“Don’t cry”: growing up in Kyrgyzstan with a long-distance migrant mom. RFE/RL video.

Thailand’s ‘spirit houses’ believed to bring fortune and protection. DW

The Garlic Peelers of Manila: under the skin of the Philippines informal economy. $ SCMP

Book Notes

Reading: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, a revised & expanded yet still breezy read with lots of good analysis about how we actually make decisions. Not new, but the basis for lots of current thinking.

See my notes on:
Nonsense: the power of not knowing – how we deal with ambiguity
Scarcity: why having too little means so much – impact of poverty, tunneling, etc.
The Talent Code: myelin, inspiration, and how to specifically coach.

Tech & Futures

Cash will soon be obsolete. Will America be ready? Brookings

AI 2041 looks interesting: pairs each of ten short stories with a “thoughtful assessment of the state of the technologies that will bring them about.” Link

A computer scientist explains machine learning in 5 levels of difficulty–to a child, a teen, a college student, a graduate student, and an expert. As fascinating for the teaching as for the example of shifting differently between levels of difficulty. Link


“It’s not the elephant that will send you home. It’s the ants.” ~Keith Parks

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone.” ~Thoreau

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