Roundup 207

June 12, 2020

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 HaftarBottom 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 …

Last Five