Roundup 208

June 19, 2020

New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard

… now: over 8.3 (+0.8) million cases, 450k deaths … 6/12: 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,

Travel re-opening

African countries dropping curbs to limit economic harm.

N. Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266m)

Algeria to relax coronavirus lockdown.

Libya: eight new mass graves discovered.

How mercenaries shaped Libya’s war. … an insightful longread on superpower machinations in the war …

Sudan: Revisiting the ‘children of Darfur… photojournalist finds out what happened to those growing up in the midst of genocide …

E. Africa/Horn (520m)

Coronavirus spreading through displaced camps in Somalia? … Red Cross fears it is. 2.6 million people are in the camps.

W. Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457m)

#Nigeria Plans to re-open schools, worship centers despite spike in cases … then Lagos State suspended plans to reopen places of worship Spike in rape, violence during lockdown … studies suggest 1 in 3 girls by age of 25 … Boko Haram kills dozens, razes village in the north. Youths, Covid-1 and north-east conflict from ReliefWeb … a very short but data rich analysis … … 246 million people around the Lake Chad basin, almost same as USA pop …

#Sahel Escalating Jihadist violence in the Sahel region

W. Asia / Saudi-Iran (303m)

#Iran Government no longer providing birth-control methods … in attempt to revive population growth, now at 1.7/woman …

#Iraq: a new Prime Minister takes stock of his bloodied land … ‘even the stones seem to have voices’ …

Syria: victorious in war, facing economic meltdown.

South-central Asia (2.1b)

#Afghanistan Desperate for any care, Afghans flock to herbalist’s ‘vaccine’. … a mixture of opiates and herbs …

#India Portraits of every day life in Gujarat. India’s comfort food tells the story of its pandemic. How Asia’s largest slum chased away Covid-19. Lockdown to be reimposed on Chennai as virus cases spread. India-China: Worst clash in decades over disputed border areas … an account of ‘what really happened that night… Briefing on why India and China are fighting. Living on the edge, Pakistani Hindus still feel safer in India. India’s ‘Goddesses of contagion’ provide protection? … just don’t make them angry …

#Nepal’s ‘Summer of Discontent… protests by young people over handling of Covid-19 …

#Pakistan The lockdown ended a month ago; now the hospitals are full. Warns coronavirus could peak at a million cases. Seals parts of several cities to prevent virus spread. Central Asia: Coronavirus dashboard in Eurasia. … an index of news about Covid-19 coming out of Central Asia …

East Asia (1.6b)

#China New outbreak in Beijing led to flights being cancelled … schools being closed, parts of the city on lockdown… ‘Partial lockdown a sign of the world’s new normalUSA passes legislation on treatment of Uighurs… calls for sanctions against officials responsible for human rights abuses Hong Kong’s new police unit to enforce new security laws. … ‘legislators working day and night on new laws’ Foreigners in China worry about their future as US, China clash. Churches in China begin reopening.

#Korea N Korea destroys SKor liaison office in southern city of Kaesong Kim sister takes bigger role in threats against South Korea

Southeast Asia (700m)

Cambodia: a spiritual army battles an earthly pandemic. … no faith in government response, rural villagers turn to the divine

#Indonesia ‘New Normal policy downplays virus, is a disaster in the making.’ West Sumatra governor asks for ‘The Bible in Minang’ to be removed from the Google Play store: ‘It makes us uncomfortable.’

#Thailand Nationwide curfew lifted after 21 days with no local cases. Spirits need a home in Bangkok … ‘and maybe a Strawberry Fanta’ …

Singapore to remove most virus restrictions this weekend.

Europe/North America (1,125m)

For much of Europe, reopening day is here.

Travel returns, but not confidence about what comes next.

Migrants in Russia: Virus = no money to live, no means to leave. Too close for comfort, and the virus, in Russia’s communal apartments.

Secret church services in Mexico, Brazil to defy Covid-19 rules. … ‘Enter through the back door’

New Data

New UNHCR Global Trends report on Forced Dsiplacement. … 1% of world forced to flee their homes … 79.5 million forcibly displaced, up from 70.8m in 2018

New Learnings

The multiple language versions of ‘The Blessing’ are nice: … E Asia: S Korea… SE Asia: MalaysianSingapore… Europe: SpanishFranceSwedenIrish… N Africa: Arab … W Africa: GhanaNigeria … S Africa: Zimbabwe … I’m sure there are more. There are covers in various languages by individual singers. These are the choirs that I found. Looking at these will bring you to more.

If you miss being able to travel, Taiwan is offering ‘pretend to go abroad’ airport tours: relieve immigration, embarking on a plane, disembarking and going home.

In photos: the Carnival on the City’s Margins: the Sonepur Mela of Bihar.


New drug improves chances of survival for Covid-19 patients … note that it doesn’t prevent infection, just decreases mortality rates …

Bowing to critics, Zoom will end-to-end encrypt all calls, ‘free or paid.’ … a ‘less robust form of encryption’ (transit encryption) for paying customers. … ‘2-tiers would allow law enforcement to regulate illicit content’ … Zoom has a bigger problem because they cancel accounts at China’s request.

Using drones to monitor locusts, stop them

China is collecting DNA from 10s of millions of men, boys. … building a sweeping genetic database to add to surveillance capabilities

Benedict Evans on solving online events … highlights why I don’t like online conferences …

Also, Benedict Evans doing a deep dive on face recognition and AI ethics. … lots to be learned about the nuances of this issue here …

Walmart is testing a cashier-less store. … America’s largest employer …

Fascinating: AI goes from simple sketches to detailed photo portraits

Last Five