Roundup #208

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 HopkinsNYTCovidTracking.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: Malaysian … Singapore … 
… Europe: Spanish … France … Sweden … Irish … 
… N Africa: Arab 
… W Africa: Ghana … Nigeria 
… 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.

Futuristics/Technology

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