Roundup #214

July 30, 2020

New Events

North Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266M)

Sudan: “We had to eat our seeds for planting” Link … 10m facing food shortages …

In Darfur, the killing goes on Link … violence has surged amid fresh accusations against security forces

For French-Algerian families, virus disrupts cherished summer ritual. Link … “Holidays in Algeria are a cornerstone of the cross-cultural identity”

East Africa/Horn (520M)

International flights to Kenya resume. Link

Kenya’s churches re-open cautiously. Link

A second generation of locusts is invading east, south Ethiopia. Link … 1 million people will likely need emergency food assistance … worst locust infestation in Ethiopia in 25 years

With Somalis, why a quiet hajj hurts Link

West Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457M)

Senegal’s biggest holiday sees shortage of sheep. Link … Eid al-Adha requires a sacrificial sheep. Covid restrictions have made them more expensive.

Children in Nigeria area continue to endure “horrendous violations.” Link … brutal abuse at hands of Boko Harm, affected by military ops

West Asia/Saudi-Iran (303M)

Some Arab states resuming air traffic despite pandemic. Link … “particularly those heavily dependent on tourism”

Scorching, record-setting heat wave across Middle East. Link … Baghdad hits 125 deg F.

Iraq seethes on the edge of another social explosion. Link

Saudi: downsized hajj begins amid pandemic. Link … only 10,000 are participating in the ritual this year … … all inside Saudi. 2/3 foreigners already in Saudi Arabia. …

Turkey: passes law granting sweeping power over social media. Link. … social media platforms ordered to open offices in Turkey … offices to respond to demands to block/remove offensive content … slow bandwidth, limitations on platforms if they refuse

Yemen: 2020 could be worst year yet for hunger in Yemen. Link … half the country relying on food aid to survive … “perfect storm”: deadly combination of war, Covid-19, floods, locusts …

South-central Asia (2.1B)

Afghanistan: Taliban “on the verge of establishing pure Islamic government” Link

Afghanistan: 1,200+ civilians killed in in first half of 2020. Link

Bangladesh: a quarter submerged, millions lose everything. Link … torrential rains follow cyclone 2 months ago … country witnessing pattern of more severe, more frequent river flooding

“The poor in north Bangladesh” are the worst victims of Covid-19 fallout. Link … “severe food related distress because of inadequate income during pandemic”

In India, Muslim devotees of Lord Ram celebrate ‘bhoomi pujan’ in Adhoya. Link … “We have converted to Islam and embraced its prayer system, but that doesn’t change our ancestors. We believe that Lord Ram is our ancestor…”

India: slum study casts doubt on official Covid data. Link … Covid infections passed 1.5 million, deaths neared 35,000 … … but study suggests 57% in Mumbai’s slums have the virus … Experts warn crisis could get worse as cases mount. Link … “Tough few months ahead”, esp. Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu … worst hit cities: Mumbai, Chennai … floods, coronavius hobble Assam, Bihar. Link … West Bengal announces 9-day lockdown. Link

“In Kashmir, the hills are alive with the sound of schooling.” Link … 100s of students attending open-air classes …

India’s migrant workers fear return to the cities. Link … spurning free air tickets, accomodation, higher pay … form the backbone of India’s economy, grim implications for the economy

India-China border tensions simmer, India adds 35,000 troops Link

India bans 47 more Chinese mobile apps. Link

Many countries are using Covid-19 clampdown as an excuse to arrest journalists. Link

Kyrgyzstan: losing the fight against Covid-19? Link

East Asia (1.6B)

“With security law as a cudgel, Beijing cracks down on Hong Kong” Link Hong Kong: don’t write its obituary yet (op/ed) Link. … “the resilient people are bouncing back”

Continued rise in surveillance, control in China: home to 18 of the 20 most surveilled cities in the world. Link

Last week, we noted new rules for foreign teachers. Now: New “social credit system” for foreign teachers could be coming. Link

Yet more reports of workers being forced to leave China.

Hong Kong Covid response: bans social gatherings of over 2 people. Link For kitchen-less Hong Kongers, ban on restaurant dining is hard. Link After public anger, HK reversed itself on breakfast/lunch restaurant ban. Link HK postpones legislative election for a year. Because, “virus.” Link … I personally think it probably is the case - but doing so while cracking down on security certainly raises suspicion.

Arrest warrants issued for six HK democracy activists. Link … they have fled the territory … New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Link EU to restrict exports to Hong Kong. Link Germany suspends HK extradition agreement. Link

China says worst of flooding still to come. Link … third wave of floods formed in upper reaches of the Yangtze River … 2 million evacuated, 142 dead since flooding began in June

Southeast Asia (700M)

Cambodia’s government using laws to restrict freedoms. Link

Indonesia finalizing ‘travel corridor’ with UAE. Link … would exempt certain travelers from 2-week quarantine measure … … to facilitate business trips, official & diplomatic visits … … 2-week quarantine defeats short-term trips, but money talks …

Bali to reopen to international tourists in September. Link … more than half of Bali’s economy depends on tourism. … With tourists gone, many Balinese returned to farms and fishing. Link

Philippines extends coronavirus lockdown in Manila. Link

Thailand: antigovernment protests mount as young Thais demand change. Link

Vietnam’s Danang enters lockdown amid surge in Covid cases. Link … suspend all flights, train/bus travel to coastal city … more than 80,000 (mostly tourists) fled/evacuated. Link

Europe/North America (1,125M)

A North American Muslim Community holds a mock drive-thru hajj. Link … “get in the festivities of the season… much like a drive to see Christmas lights…”

New Data


… now: 17.3m (+1.8) cases, 674k deaths … 7/24: 15.5m (+1.7) cases, 633k deaths … 7/17: 13.8m (+1.6) cases, 590k deaths … 7/10: 12.2m (+1.5) cases, 550k deaths … 7/3: over 10.7m (+1.0) cases, 517k deaths Trackers: Johns Hopkins, NYT,

WHO: Africa cases will soon surpass 1 million. Link

New Longreads

How I work: Productive Expert Charles Duhigg. Link … some interesting bits in here, especially about the power of story.

a16z on Hidden Networks: Network effects that don’t look like network effects. Link … “So why does this matter? Companies with network effects that don’t look like network effects are diamonds in the rough. Because their networks are hard to measure, they can often be under-appreciated in the short run and disproportionately strong in the long run.” How many DMMs may fall into this category?

Futuristics & Technology

With rising fear of flying, Europe’s sleeper trains reawaken. Link

“Our remote work future is going to suck.” Link … explores the negative impact of everyone-working-remotely on careers and communication

“I am a model and I know that artificial intelligence will eventually take my job.” Link … CGI models are being given backstories, personalities, causes to champion

Robot usage is soaring during the pandemic. Link … they probably won’t be fired when the pandemic ends.

Global app spending set to pass $100 billion in 2020. Link

Last Five