North Africa + West Asia = NAME (570m)
Western states ask Tunisia to return to ‘democratic institutions.’ Al Jazeera
Libyan plan for 24 December election close to collapse. Guardian
Sudanese demand freeze of international aid to the military. Al Jazeera
— protesters urge world not to resume development aid to avoid legitimizing government
Tens of thousands of Sudanese again demonstrate against military rule. Dabanga
15 years later: remembering the martyrs at Yemen’s Jibla Baptist Hospital. IMB
East Africa (520m)
Armed drones may have helped turn the tide in Ethiopia’s war. Al Jazeera
— acquired from Turkey, Iran, etc.
Ethiopia’s fast-shifting civil war. Economist Podcast
— “The streets are overflowing with federal troops.”
Ethiopian refugees say they escaped ‘final stage of ethnic cleansing’ in western Tigray. Post
South + Central Asia (2b)
Is this the future of Taliban rule? Newslines
— “Therein lies the issue. There are no rules to Taliban rule, only exceptions.”
Very long read with deep background: Inside the fall of Kabul. NYT $
— “Story of why and what came after, by a reporter & photographer who witnessed it all.”
The AP Interview: Karzai ‘invited’ Taliban to stop chaos. AP
— compliments NYT long form article above.
Afghans push through snowy alps toward new lives in Europe. AP
— “only the hardiest, most driven, and most resourceful exiles make it this far.”
India’s latest religious and cultural flashpoint: eggs. NYT $
— many Hindus are vegetarians and consider eggs to be meat products
— local officials in Ahmedabad banned the sale/display of meat, fish, eggs on the street
— but they didn’t expect the backlash: lawsuits, protests
— “India has no shortage of feelings about food… with Hindu nationalism on the rise, food has drawn more headlines.”
Gurgaon: tension in an Indian city over Muslim prayers. BBC
— rising Hindu nationalism will more visibly affect Hindus vs Muslims than vs Christians
Very short: “Bulldozing India’s separation of temple and state.” Economist $
— bulldozing buildings around temples to improve temple tourism potential
How Bangladesh rebuilds after climate catastrophe. Guardian
— many moved from SW. Others turned to things like crab and shrimp farming.
Eastern Asia (1.6b)
Inside a Chinese propaganda campaign: How Beijing influences the influencers. NYT $
— “paint cheery portraits of life as foreigners in China, hit back at criticisms of Beijing”
Beijing’s Winter Olympics may hasten China’s break with the West. Economist $
— “To a great number of Chinese, their country has never been as impressive as it is today.”
— “At the very same moment, an opposite consensus is forming in the West.”
— “Arcane official boycotts are a glimpse of a real-world democratic crisis.”
— “How China manages the games is likely to provoke mutual incomprehension”
South Korea cuts human interaction in push to build ‘untact’ society. Guardian
Ten years into Kim Jong Un’s rule, N Korea is more N Korean than ever. Economist $
— “unprecedented self-isolation”
Escaping North Korea under Kim Jong-un. East Asia Forum
— Some 33,800 N Korean defectors currently live in S Korea.
What the world can learn from Japan. Economist $
— the oldest big country has lessons for those that will soon age and shrink.
Southeast Asia (700m)
Southeast Asia is awash in drugs. Economist $
— a look at the massive market for meth, and some of the terrible results
Myanmar’s generals want Aung San Suu Kyi locked up forever. Economist
— useful look at some of the nuances of Suu Kyi’s governance and where things are now
In Myanmar jungle, civilians prepare to battle military rulers. Reuters
Gospel grows in Laos despite opposition. MNN
Yakutsk, Siberia: shrouded in ice and fog, this city is the coldest in the world. NatGeo
The stalemate in Eastern Ukraine will likely hold. Foreign Affairs
The priests navigating Colombia’s conflict zones. BBC
— “We go where the local authorities don’t.”
$ indicates a potential paywall. Most of these news sources permit a set amount of free articles (usually about 6) per month, and after that, subscription.
Covid global case data
We estimated 300m cases by Jan. 28.
… 12/17: 272.1m (+3.6m/wk) cases, 5.33m deaths
… 12/10: 268.5m (+4.3m/wk) cases, 5.28m deaths
… 12/3: 264.2m (+4.15m/wk) cases, 5.23m deaths
… 11/19: 255.9m (+4.1m/wk) cases, 5.12m deaths
… 11/11: 251.8m (+3.2m/wk) cases, 5.07m deaths
Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT
Eric Topol: Omicron is getting more defined: a look at what is known. Substack
Several European countries are moving toward mandatory vaccination. Link
— EC President says mandatory vaccination must be ‘on the table’. Guardian
Economist: Why the demographic transition is speeding up. Link
— good semi-long read on some of the complexities of demographic transition to stable/declining population size
Tech & Futures
‘Mental health apps’: dramatic growth has created a risky industry. Economist $
— can be hacked, and no one is checking whether they work
Who killed the robot dog? Wired
— The robotic companion was once a dream of techno-utopianism,
— but has instead become a terrifying weapon.
This huge Chinese company is selling video surveillance systems to Iran. TechReview
— shadowy industry where authoritarian states enthusiastically export surveillance technologies to repressive regimes
Headroom is a new challenger to Zoom. VentureBeat
— using AI to automate many of the tasks involved in meetings.
— but some of the things its AI will reputedly do are… interesting. Gaze-tracking, facial expressions?
US blacklists the world’s largest commercial drone firm for Uighur surveillance. Axios
Facebook banning surveillance-for-hire companies that spied on 50,000. NPR
— I’m really not on FB any more, so I have no idea if this impacted me or not.
Microsoft’s Bing told by China to suspend auto-suggest search feature for 30 days. SCMP
— for the life of me, I can’t imagine exactly why.