Roundup 240

New Events

East Africa

Tigray-war
NPR has an explainer on the Tigray conflict. NPR
Examining the struggle to report the conflict in Tigray. Al Jazeera
… Video, beginning mainly around 2:25 …
… power struggle between Tigrayans, Amharas, Oromos. More details at 4:30 …
Ethiopia refines the art of the 21st-century war zone blackout. Slate
… the 1980s drought was partly due to conflict between Ethiopia govt and TPLF …
… this time, instead of bringing a situation into living rooms, focusing on keeping it out …
Ethiopa’’s leader faces intense pressure to end the Tigray war. AP
Anger and collective trauma scar Ethiopia’s Tigray region. DW

Middle Africa

Stores of explosives detonate in Equatorial Guinea with widespread devastation. CNN

Western Africa

Burkina Faso’s secret peace talks and fragile jihadist ceasefire. New Humanitarian

Niger: Remote CIA base in the Sahara steadily grows. NYT
… covers the CIA’s drone flights base, but has comments about rising violence in the Sahel …
… ‘abandoned a strategy of weakening Islamist militants, instead mainly trying to contain the threat’ …

Nigeria’s Catholic Bishops: ‘The nation is falling apart’. CFR
… issued a statement sounding the alarm over the very survival of the nation …

Senegal: why protests are shaking one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Reuters
… police clash w/thousands of protesters re detention of prominent opposition leader …
… unrest is ‘worst in a decade,’ with five killed in last week …

Eastern Asia

China launches Covid-19 vaccination certificates for cross-border travel. Reuters
… in discussions with other countries about recognition of the certificates …

Westerners increasingly scared of travel to China as threat of detention rises. CNN
… ‘makes him consider whether crossing border risks his indefinite arbitrary detention’ …
… links to stories of others who have been locked up in Beijing …

China appears to warn India: push too hard, and the lights could go out. NYT
… during 2020 skirmish, malware flowed into Indian electric grid, blackout hit Mumbai …

An excellent rundown on the National People’s Congress. ChinaSource
… great curation of analysis pieces … don’t miss the ZG_Briefs newsletter …

Central Asia

Only 7 or 8 trucks per day allowed from Kyrgyzstan into China. Eurasianet
… ‘it can take about four days to get to the front of the line’ …

The long army of Turkmenistan’s police state: persecuting citizens abroad. Eurasianet

South Asia

With less US support, Afghanistan struggling to roll back Taliban advances. WPost
… Taliban in violent, months long campaign to expand influence across Af. …
… taken control of key highways, choked off towns and cities …

Taliban crackdown on women. 
… demanded end to projects empowering women, barred female staff from entering their territory …

Afghan TV station can’t hire women over security fears after four killed. Guardian

‘I was on the Taliban’s hit list’. RFE
… journalists flee Afghanistan amid targeted killings …
… will make getting data out of Afghanistan all the more difficult …

To undermine the Taliban, Kabul tries to bolster its religious credentials. RFE

India, In Photos: Millions join 45-day Hindu bathing festival in Prayagraj. AP
… Kalpvasis bathe in Sangam, the sacred confluence of rivers, believing they will be cleansed of sins …

Building an independent Revival Bible College in a remote area of Nepal. Eternity News

Pakistan: religiosity aiding spike in militancy. AP
… reunification of various splinters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban is a major development …

South-eastern Asia

Cambodia’s dwindling fish stocks put spotlight on changing rivers. Reuters
… hydropower projects, sand mining, deforestation, more all contribute to the problem …

Malaysian Christians can call God ‘Allah,’ rules High Court. CT
… Decision ends 35-year-old ban on usage of 4 Arabic words by Christian publications …

Thailand cutting quarantine period to 7 days for new arrivals. Link
CCSA says Thailand will likely be fully reopened by October, all restrictions lifted. Bangkok Post

Thailand warns foreign students could lose visas over anti-government protests. Reuters

Myanmar-coup
UN envoy: ‘How much more can we allow [them] to get away with?’ Reuters
‘Shoot until they are dead’: Myanmar police flee to India, tell of orders received. Reuters
‘Shoot me instead’: Myanmar Catholic nun pleads with junta forces. AFP
‘It’s better to walk through a minefield’: victims of Myanmar’s army speak. NYT
From land of promise to pariah state, Myanmar coup rattles foreign firms. Reuters
Scores of Myanmar citizens waiting to enter India. CNA
Myanmar’s generals have not through their coup through. Economist
… They have no way forwards without extreme violence, but also no way back …

Western Asia

Last year’s Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict could shake up trans-Caucasus trade. Eurasianet
… Georgia has dominated this trade for decades, but perhaps less so in the future …

Thousands of Iraqi pilgrims defy virus protocols to participate in al-Kadhim pilgrimage. ABC News

Burning tires: Lebanon protesters send dark, angry message. ABC News
… expressions of anger, hopelessness–burning tires to block key roads …

Syria: When a ‘victory’ isn’t one, what are the costs?CSM
… more than half the pre-war population displaced from their homes …
… foreign forces + proxies occupy large chunks of territory, control bulk of Syria’s resources …
… chronic food scarcity … soaring food prices … economic collapse …
… half of young people know a close family member or friend who died in the war …

Yemen-war
‘This is hell’: UN food aid chief visits Yemen, fears famine. AP
Peace, peace, but there is no peace in Yemen. New Humanitaria
… a look at PR stunts, smokescreens, and the limits of peace in Yemen …

Europe/USA

Spain set to launch vaccine passports. Daily Mail
… Greece signals it will reopen to tourists in mid-May …
… restrictions may lift for UK …

USA: Interesting piece on how church food pantries can have a wide geographic reach and impact. CT

Data

Covid case data

… 3/12: 118.7m cases, 2.63m deaths
… 3/5: 115.7m cases, 2.57m deaths
… 2/26: 113m cases
… 2/19: 109.5m cases
… 2/12: 107.9m cases, 2.37m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYTCovidTracking

1 in 3 women worldwide experiences violence in their lifetime. CNN
… largest-ever WHO study on the prevalence of violence against women …

World Population in 2100, by country: The World Population Peak. VisCapitalist
… h/t Jon Hirst …
… projected contraction of China population to 732m (#3 worldwide) is shocking
… this scenario vaults India to #1 (1.09b), Nigeria to #2 (791m), China, USA, Pakistan, DRC
… UN Demographic scenarios don’t necessarily agree …

Reading

Documentary film about Wuhan during earliest days of the pandemic. New Yorker
… interview with filmmaker Nanfu Wang about the film ‘In the same breath’; looks very good

The pandemic that won’t end: variants & the peril of vaccine inequity. Foreign Affairs
… just because it is ‘ended’ in wealthier and more developed countries, isn’t the end …
… virus and variants will likely live on in less-wealthy, less-developed, less-reached areas

USA: non-Christian religious groups adopting & using the word ‘evangelical’. Ryan Burge
… has become a catch-all for saying, ‘I am a devout believer.’ …

Technology/Futurism

‘I’ve never seen anything like this’: chaos strikes global shipping. NYT
… pandemic has disrupted international trade, driving up the cost of shipping goods …

Bangladesh bought phone-hacking tools from Israel, documents show. Al Jazeera

‘India is trying to build its own Internet’. CNN
… really, about effort to control multinationals, ban Chinese apps, and grow Indian apps/services …

India threatens jail for Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter employees. WSJ
… as it seeks to quash political protests …
… and gain far-reaching powers over discourse on foreign-owned tech platforms …

Inside Israel’s lucrative, secretive cyber-surveillance industry. RestOfWorld.org
… can purportedly hack a phone without the target even clicking a link …

The NYT has a fascinating long-read piece on electric cars, and how long until they ‘rule the road’. NYT

The Robots are coming for Phil in Accounting. NYT
… workers with college degrees & specialized training once felt relatively safe from automation …

Saudi Arabia’s bold plan to rule the $700 billion hydrogen market. Bloomberg

Real meat that vegetarians can eat. WSJ
… chicken nuggets grown from cells in a lab are now on sale in Singapore …
… still early days: on sale at one private social club, plate of nuggets = $23 …
… cruelty-free issues aside, might this address the world’s scalability-of-meat challenge?

The mega-scale structures that humans could one day build. BBC
… might we build some of these around the new Earth? …