Roundup 253

New Events

Northern Africa (266m)

In one of Egypt’s most spiritual places, Bedouins find peace & resilience. NatGeo
… exploring Bedouin roots in the Sinai Peninsula …

Egyptian firms eyeing revival of business in Libya, rebuilding work. Reuters

East Africa (520m)

UN provides updated map of access in Tigray regions. (@UN)[https://twitter.com/addisstandard/status/1401927473319845891/photo/1]
… TL;DR: most of it is “partially accessible” or “hard to reach.”
UN warns of worsening famine in Tigray. Bloomberg
350k suffering famine conditions in Tigray, millions more at risk. USNews
Mekelle: “Breezy regional capital belies horrors of Tigray conflict.” VOA
Conflict ranging in remote towns leaves civilians devastated. Al Jazeera

Eritrea blames the US for destabilization in Tigray. Al Jazeera

Uganda reimposes Covid19 restrictions due to 2nd wave. CNN
… schools closed, inter-district travel banned …

Western Africa (457m)

Boko Haram leader killed on direct orders of Islamic State. Guardian.
… but still no outside confirmation …

Popular/controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua dies – France24

Spiral of violence continues in the Sahel:
… 160+ people killed in N Burkina Faso: one of the deadliest assaults in years. NYT *
… Burkina Faso’s secret peace talks & fragile jihadist ceasefire. New Humanitarian
… Analysis: War in Libya led to spread of jihadists into Sahel and a rise in attacks. France24
… French troops in Mali are ending their deployment. Link

Middle Africa

Western Asia (303m)

Syria: 2 years after the IS caliphate was brought down, forgotten children in the Al-Hol camp continue to be molded by its ideology. AP

Also: inside the troubled repatriation of Iraqis from al-Hol. New Humanitarian
… there are over 60,000 people from 50 countries in the camp …

Over a million at risk of hunger in Syria without cross-border aid resolution. ReliefWeb

South + Central Asia (2b)

The Taliban are getting stronger in Afghanistan as US and NATO forces exist. Their strength is good for the safety of some, not so good for others. NPR

India’s daily case load is under 100,000 – CNBC
… Uttar Pradesh lifts Covid-imposed curfew in all districts. Link
… Covid-19 and Uttar Pradesh: “the tragedy of what has transpired.” The Wire
… Bihar unlocks after more than a month: here are the new rules. Link
… Gujarat to ease restrictions from June 11, religious places and gyms to open. Link
… Jharkhand continues to extend restrictions. Link
… Kerala under lockdown until June 16. Link

India will procure 75% of all vaccines directly, and provide free shots to any adult. AP
… “Worst is over,” but in a race to prepare for a possible next wave. WPost
… at present, just 3.5% of the population is vaccinated
… “a third wave is inevitable” as the virus mutates

Nepal: no testing, essential medicines for Covid-19 in Upper Dolpa. Kathmandu Post
… poor road connectivity hinders the supply of essential medicines …

Pakistan commits $1.1 billion to buy vaccines for eligible adults. Reuters
… aims to inoculate 45 to 65 million by year’s end …

Pakistani court overturns Christian couple’s death sentence. BBC
… no one has ever been officially executed for blasphemy …
… but dozens killed by mobs after being accused …
… blasphemy allegations often used to settle personal scores, target minorities …

Tajikistan has agreed to share irrigation water with Kazakhstan, after one of the main water courses, the Syr Darya river, dropped by almost a third and drought threatens to plunge Kazakhstan’s south into devastation. Eurasianet

Eastern Asia (1.6b)

China vaccinating 20 million a day = 60 days to all vaccinated. Link

Vaccine diplomacy: China tells Brazil anti-China statements “were not helping with delayed shipments” of Sinovac vaccine. USNews

Uighurs being deported from Muslim countries, raising concerns re China’s growing reach. CNN

China’s policies could cut between 2.6 and 4.5 million births of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities within 20 years, or up to a third of Xinjiang’s projected minority population. Reuters

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia’s Covid spike has experts worried the worst is yet to come. CNN

Malaysia aiming to speed up Covid-19 vaccination campaign as cases soar, and its per capita infection rate exceeds that of India. Diplomat
… Case numbers sharply rising in Java, Sumatra …

Myanmar:
… ‘mass deaths’ alert in Kayah state as 100k flee junta’s heavy weapons. UN.
… ‘The darkest days are coming’: journalists suffer at hands of junta. Guardian

Singapore to start easing Covid restrictions as infections fall. CNBC

Thailand: a year without tourism = crisis for captive elephants. NatGeo

N America / W Europe

Belarus has banned most of it citizens from travel abroad due to Covid. Link

US pastors pessimistic about the future of denominations and the importance of their church’s ties with denominations over the next 10 years. CT

Urban flight: America’s largest cities (those over 1 million in population) saw the sharpest population losses during the pandemic; others saw continued, but slower gains. Brookings

Haiti:
… widespread gang violence in Port-au-Prince – Link 
… Covid surge in Haiti, where no one is vaccinated – Link

Data

Covid case data

… 6/11: 174.9m (+3.1m) cases, 3.77m deaths
… 6/04: 171.8m (+2.7m) cases, 3.69m deaths
… 5/28: 169.1m (+4.1m) cases, 3.51m deaths
… 5/20: 165.0m (+4.4m) cases, 3.42m deaths
… 5/14: 160.6m (+5.2m) cases, 3.35m deaths
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYT *

Covid deaths in 2021 have already eclipsed 2020’s toll. WSJ

Nine in 10 African nations will miss Sep goal of vaccinating 10% of population. UN

Mastercard Foundation donates $1.3 billion to boost Africa coronavirus response. WPost

Other new data

Galt & Taggart report: Tourism challenges in 2H20. Analysis focused on the country of Georgia but lots of good global trends data. PDF

Child labor figure rises to 160 million due to Covid risks – UN

Longer Reads

Floyd McClung, an international leader of YWAM and founder of All Nations, died May 29. Link

“The forever virus: a strategy for the long fight against Covid-19.” SARS-COV-2 is growing in a dozen different animal species, and there aren’t enough vaccine shots–or willing arms–to reach herd immunity. Rather than dying out, the virus will likely ping-pong back and forth across the globe for years to come. Foreign Affairs

“Covid-19 is a developing country pandemic.” Brookings

Nuance: “The media called the lab leak story a conspiracy theory. Now it’s prompted corrections–and serious reporting.” WPost

What I’ve reading/just finished

Blah, Blah, Blah: what to do when words don’t work (by Dan Roam, author of “On the back of the napkin”). Another in his series of books about how to use basic drawing skills to clarify thinking and ideas. Pretty good, although admittedly I found the first bit of the book better than the FOREST analogy he uses. Amazon.

Undercover Economist: an interesting little book I’m just getting into, that explores economics with basic case studies (e.g. who’s making money from Starbucks coffee–not so much Starbucks). I’m appreciating this as much for the easy communication style, using simple stories that crystallize concepts, as for the concepts themselves. Amazon

Blessed: a history of the American Prosperity Gospel: So far a helpful, objectively told history of how this developed. Amazon

Kindle samples I’m exploring

Friends: Understanding the power of our most important relationships. By Robin Dunbar, of Dunbar’s Number fame. Dunbar’s name, plus this quote, caught my eye: “The number and quality of our friendships may have a bigger influence on our happiness, health and mortality than anything else in our life.” Is it possible that small fellowships groups, but helping friendships form, contribute in and of themselves to longer, healthier life? Dunbar seems to suggest that’s possible. Amazon

Pinpoint: how GPS is changing technology, culture and our minds. Initial stories intrigued me in the bookstore. I’ve read before about how GPS and a hyper-local focus (where I am right now) means I don’t look at bigger maps, and so miss out on the shape of geography around me and even how it’s changing. Plus, of course, we lose out on serendipity of exploration. Amazon

Tech & Futures

India is demanding WhatsApp make messages “traceable.” Wired
… policy would app privacy far beyond India’s borders …

Nigeria banned Twitter after it emoved a controversial tweet by President Buhair. AP

JBS, the world’s biggest meat producer, paid $11m cybercrime ransom. Guardian

The majority of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline was recovered by the US. Fortune

Across China, AI ‘city brains’ are changing how the government runs. SCMP
.. used for everything from pandemic control to monitoring illegal public assemblies …

“SAM”, the Semi-Automated Mason, can lay 800 to 1,200 bricks a day–2x the average human. @TechInsider

Drone refuels a US navy jet in midair. Popular Mechanics

A global sting operation: the FBI secretly created a secure messaging service, marketed it to crooks, then monitored over 27 million messages on 12,000 devices in 45 languages by 300 criminal organizations. AP

When Covid-19 kept employers from finding enough employees, it inspired them to bring in automation that killed certain jobs. Those jobs won’t be returning. Wired

McDonalds wants to use machine learning to automate, improve interactions with customers. ZDNet

Hacked drones and busted logistics are the cyber future of warfare. Brookings
… military systems are vulnerable… increasingly brazen cyberattacks …