Roundup 193

February 28, 2020

New Events


The live tracker is here. … slight leveling off in deaths in mainland China cases, slight rise in other places. … Coronavirus does not yet meet the definition of a pandemic - Axios

Experimental treatment being tested - Reuters  

Economist: The Virus is Coming - Link … 25 to 70% of any infected population will catch the disease … 80% mild, 15% need treatment in hospital, 5% will require intensive care … “10X as lethal as flu, the death toll worldwide could be in the millilons” … BUT: flu mortality is 0.1%. 10X is 1%. … For any 1,000 population with an infection in their midst, up to 700 get it, 7 die. … “If you’re over 80, you are at extreme risk from the disease; under 50, you are not.”  

Typical analysis: “Don’t panic. Doctors/virologists I’m speaking to say 98% of people will be fine, even if they get Covid-19. They expect it will go around the world, but that most people who get it will be a little sick, then recover. The danger is to vulnerable people. Hospitals/old age homes.” ~Richard Engel  

That said, there’s a lot of confusion, and governments are starting to do a lot to block the spread of the virus. This will disrupt trade and travel and heighten fear and uncertainty.

Inside China

Lockdowns: Millions of people are trapped indoors - FP

National Peoples Congress postponed, first time in decades - Guardian

Religious groups in China step into the Coronavirus crisis - NYT … “not all their efforts have been well received” …  

Outside China, lots of governments panicking: … the difficult part is when the disease spreads, can’t be monitored, and there isn’t the health infrastructure to help people recover. … lots of conspiracy theories making the rounds, too …

The Dow Jones dropped 1,200 points as fear batters stock market - Techcrunch

The spread of COVID-19 outside China, charted - Statista … Case number spikes: S Korea, Italy, Iran  … ‘deeply concerning' says WHO, ‘no time for complacency' says UN … New first cases: Algeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria

Fast-spreading coronavirus pushes Iran toward lockdown - Al-Monitor … Iran says 12 dead, rejects higher death toll - AP … accuses other countries of ‘scaremongering' Iran toward lockdown - Al-Monitor … How Qom (religious center) became Iran’s coronavirus epicenter - IranWire … deputy health minister has contracted coronavirus - IranWire … Friday prayers cancelled, Chinese banned from entering country - Reuters … ‘Recipe for a massive viral outbreak': a regional crossroads is a worldwide threat - NYT … Countries around Iran are closing their borders - Eurasianet

Coronavirus poised for ‘outsized impact' on S Korea - Diplomat … tries not restricting movement of people, opposite approach of China - NYT … launches ‘drive-thru' coronavirus testing facilities … Reuters

Saudi Arabia closes holiest sites to foreigners - AP … ‘unprecedented move, … not even taken during 1918 flu epidemic…' … suspended pilgrimages, first in living memory

Pakistan shuts schools, suspends Iran flights - Reuters

Iraq bans public gatherings, travel to nine countries - Reuters

Japan closes schools for a month - NYT

Which African countries are most vulnerable - New Humanitarian … and why have they been spared so far from the coronavirus? DW

North Africa / Warring States

Saudi Arabia steps up support for Hifter in Libya - Al-Monitor

Egypt / Sudan

After 6 years of war, will peace finally come to South Sudan? Al Jazeera … lingering concerns, dampened expectations …

Western Africa / Lake Chad

‘Significant rise' of insecurity in Niger Delta, report - CFR … 416 incidents, 1,000+ deaths in 2019, 2x 2018.

Escalating Burkina Faso violence brings wider Sahel displacement into focus - UN … 150,000 have fled in the last three weeks …


Information minister alleges Islamists targeting Christians to provoke religious war - Reuters

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Locusts in the Horn of Africa have reached the fertile Rift Valley - Reuters … Kenya out of pesticides, Ethiopia needs more planes, Somalia/Yemen aren’t safe

Central Asia / Caucasus

Measuring Central Asia’s shadow economies - Eurasianet … ‘massive bazaar economy is both a driver of economic growth and a hindrance'

West Asia / Turkey

Air strike in Idlib kills 33 Turkish soldiers - Reuters … raising fears of escalation between Turkey, Russia - NYT … Turkey will no longer stop Syrian migrant flow into Europe - Daily Sabah

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

There’s been more than 100,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan over last decade - AP

US military officially stopped offensive operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan - Axios

Life in Kashmir: no email, WhatsApp, Internet - BuzzFeed


Deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Delhi - Guardian … ‘worst religious violence for decades' … ‘Muslims flee their homes after attacks by Hindu mobs' … riots continue to spread across northeast Delhi … Death toll reaches 32 - Reuters … after 3 days of riots, an uneasy calm descends - Foreign Policy … the roots of the violence: a fiery speech & an ultimatum - NYT … Behind the clash, fear and uncertainty for 2 million in limbo - New Humanitarian … A Delhi neighborhood divided by a highway, now by hatred - Reuters  


How to cheat at Xi Jinping thought - Foreign Policy … A new mandatory app is eating up worker time, so they find ways around it  

Poor migrant workers are feeling the brunt of coronavirus lockdowns - NYT … ‘rural itinerants blocked from cities, kicked out of apartments, rejected…'  

Southeast Asia

Cambodia bans online gambling operations, mainly run by Chinese - Asia Times … over 400,000 Chinese nationals leave Sihanoukville … … Housing prices drop 33% …  

The “inside story” behind Malaysia’s political meltdown - Asia Times … maybe?  

Singapore has almost wiped out its mother tongues - Economist … “elderly speakers of Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien sometimes cannot talk to their own grandchildren”  

New Data

Global life expectancy has more than doubled over the past century - Economist  

Longer reads

Very short: Why your startup’s org chart is limiting your growth - Tomas Tunguz … middle managers are important for scaling … … small group leaders and coaches are important for movements scaling …

Joann Pitmann: How many Christians in China? (Part 1) - ChinaSource

Zeynep Tufekci: “How the coronavirus revealed authoritarianism’s fatal flaw.” Atlantic


Xi Jinping using teleconferencing to address 170k cadres around the country - SCMP … “to make sure his words reached the provinces directly” … “lower-level officials used to interpreting Beijing’s edicts their own way” … more command & control, or a Chinese version of “Team of Teams” video calls?

What happens when the Internet vanishes - BBC … last year, services deliberately shut down 200 times in 33 separate countries … … all workers among unreached need to be prepared for such things … … Majority of shutdowns in India … longest shutdown, 15 month in Chad

“We are not prepared for the end of Moore’s Law” - MIT Tech Review

The recording music industry grew from $7 billion (stagnant around that from 2011 to 2015) to $9.8 billion by 2018, considered a ‘relatively safe and solid performing stock,' powered by music streaming - Variety

First use of Deepfakes in an Indian election campaign - Vice … is this a deepfake… or just widespread linguistic translation?

Russia launches facial recognition + widespread surveillance with 200,000 cameras covering Moscow’s 12.5 million inhabitants - Reuters

Amazon expands cashierless Go model into full-blown grocery story - Verge

“Robots aren’t taking over jobs, they are becoming bosses” - Verge … first, they came to help us work better; then, they took over managing us … … interesting piece about how AI is directing work, effectively managing employees … … also, similar piece in Wired

New languages added to Google Translate, including Uighur - Link

Firefox will turn on DNS over over HTTPS by default - Verge … keeps people from seeing which websites you are visiting … … but also defeats attempts to block malicious / other websites … … Initial skim of the article shows OpenDNS is not one of the DNS choices, unfortunately …

Facebook, Google, Twitter rebel against Pakistan censorship rules - NYT … in a rare action, jointly threaten to leave Pakistan …


“Grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning.” ~Dallas Willard

“Self-sufficiency, while a hallmark of American culture, is dangerous to a life of faith.” ~Shane Bennett