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, CovidTracking.com

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 normal’ USA 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