Roundup #207

New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard

... now: 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,

Travel re-opening

Indonesia resumes domestic air travel.
… Greater Surabaya ends partial lockdown.
Bangladesh resumes international flights.
Slovakia allows travel from 16 countries.
Saudi Arabia considers limiting the hajj amid Covid-19 fears.

I am looking for new, good, regular news & analysis sources for North, East and West Africa. Also, I know. I know.

N. Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266m)

Libya: Haftar says he’s ready for talks to end war
… saw the collapse this week of his 14-month campaign ...
… Egypt offers new Libya plan ...
... Haftar got closer to Assad, Syrians fighting in Libya ...
... Turkey "secures a reprieve" from Haftar ...
Bottom line: a "frozen conflict" for the near future.

Morocco easing lockdown measures.

Tunisia may have beaten Covid-19.
... "and in the process strengthened its democracy" ...

E. Africa/Horn (520m)

China's business elite are sending masks to East Africa
... "a chance to repair China's image, gain credit with Pres. Xi"

Talks resumed about the Blue Nile dam.

W. Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457m)

Nigeria: VOM report alleges 620 Christians killed in 2020
… around 12,000 killed over past 5 years? …
… Boko Haram + Fulani violence ...

Nigerian group condemns rampant rape cases in the north.
Conflict-hit families in the North under lockdown, need aid.

W. Asia / Saudi-Iran (303m)

Turks stream out for first lockdown-free weekend in 2 months.

Kuwait to resume daily prayers at some mosques.

Saudi considers limiting hajj pilgrims amid Covid-19 fears.
... even apparently considering cancelling the hajj season ...
... and, wants to find a Yemen exit strategy.

Qatar begins phased re-opening.

Lebanon’s currency plunges against the dollar, protests surge.

Syria's Idlib war-wrecked province readies for Covid-19.

Yemen's qat markets are full despite coronavirus threat.

South-central Asia (2.1b)

Hurtling into a coronavirus crisis: now 4th in the world.
... sees record 10,000 new cases in a single day ...
... hospitals are turning patients away.
Mask wearing worshippers in temples as India reopens
… in spite of rise in coronavirus cases …
“Worse than a war zone”: Covid-19 batters Mumbai.
… apps to help people find hospitals with empty beds …
… public hospitals in Delhi also full, turning people away …
… morgues over full …
… “attempting to balance health and hunger” ...
... Mumbai has surpassed Wuhan's peak ...

‘Rolling emergency’ of locusts decimating Africa, Asia, Mideast.
… China could deploy 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to eat locusts.
… 1 duck = 200 locusts/day?! …
Pakistan hospitals running out of beds.
... WHO urges Pak. to reinstitute 'intermittent' lockdown ...

Covid cases spike 4-fold in a month.
How Covid ‘red zones’ work.
… food for 2 weeks, no mosques, text alerts

#Central Asia
Kazakhstan returns several towns to lockdown after Covid spike.

East Asia (1.6b)

A ‘Golden Goose’ loses its luster: why willing to risk HK.
China’s spy agencies are coming to Hong Kong.
HK Christians respond as Beijing's grip tightens.
"The disappeared": China's global kidnapping campaign.
US says it will allow China two passenger flights per week.

North rules out more nuclear concessions.
... "will pursue weapons development"

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia holds firm on hajj cancellation.
... has seen hundreds of child deaths related to Covid.
... concern about a post-pandemic baby boom to poor families.

Malaysia bars citizens from the hajj.

Singapore's Changi Airport sets up new transit holding area.
... preparing for the resumption of transit passenger services ...

Europe/North America (1,125m)

New Zealand is Covid-19 free.

New York eases restrictions, 400k to return to work.

New Data

Infographic: The State of Global Peace, 2020.
... global peacefulness has declined for the 9th time in 12 years ...

New Learnings

ChinaSource Quarterly: Doing mission with Chinese characteristics.

The number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 is certainly an undercount. Some governments are taking steps to hide data.
... Brazil stopped releasing death tolls, wiped data from official site.
… South Asia: official Covid-19 numbers disguise undercounting.
… Most USA states don’t count probable positives.


Big event: Zoom shut down accounts of US-activists due to China:
... admits to shutting down accounts at request of China
... SCMP: "US-based Chinese dissidents"
... Then, it reactivated those accounts.
... "Ties under scrutiny after it muzzles human rights group"
... Bill Bishop wants to know how they knew the activists were there
... concerns about monitoring of groups and conversations …
Zoom plans ability to block people based on location
... "to comply with requests from local authorities"

My alternatives: Google Meet, Blue Jeans.
... Google Meet has a new, fine-tuned presentations layout ...
... has debuted new background noise cancellation feature ...

Google Maps launches features for traveling during Covid-19
… only on trips affected by Covid-19 restrictions …

Delta going out of its way to make travel safe.
... what you can do when you have half as many people traveling? ...

China’s oil demand has nearly returned to normal.
… second-largest oil consumer, will affect oil prices & travel prices …

IBM pulls out of all facial recognition.
… fearing racial profiling, mass surveillance …
... Amazon: moratorium on police use of facial recognition tech
... Microsoft won't sell face-recognition tech to US police
... but lots of other vendors sell the tech

Several articles related to protest security can also serve as inventories of security “how-tos” that can be helpful to field workers:
… How to hide faces & scrub metadata from photos
… and another catalog of similar tools to scrub faces
... Anonymous Camera is a new tool that anonymizes photos

#Surveillance: “Person re-identification” despite clothing changes.

Wired on how to get the most out of Signal and encrypted chat.

Inside Iran’s massive drone army.
… the most combat drones in the Middle East …

The Last Five

#206 - 5 June
#205 - 29 May
#204 - 15 May
#203 - 8 May
#202 - 1 May