Migrant Crisis | White House White Power | The Biggest Hospital in the World
June 29, 2020
“It is amazing that the refugees stay sane. First the bombs, perhaps the “battle” around them, their casualties, their naked helplessness; then the flight, leaving behind everything they have worked for all their lives; then the semi-starvation and ugly hardship of the camps or the slums; and as a final cruelty, the killing diseases which only strike at them.” ― Martha Gellhorn
Engulfed in Turmoil
(Khaled Ziad via Getty Images)
Wealthy Arabian Gulf countries depend on migrant workers — to clean their homes, care for their children, herd their animals, and do their manual labor. Each year, over 100,000 Ethiopians, Somalis, and other East Africans pay smugglers to be stuffed on boats in a desperate attempt to make the perilous journey across the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. They dream of eventually making their way to Saudi Arabia to find jobs to support their struggling families back home.
The journey from the Horn of Africa through Yemen to Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing migrant routes worldwide. Surveys show most poverty-stricken East African migrants are unaware of the raging, chaotic civil war in Yemen, whose situation the UN labeled “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”
Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, and five years of war between Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition propping up Yemen’s government have ransacked the country. Yet almost unimaginably, COVID-19 has made the situation even more horrific. Once the pandemic hit, African migrant workers became the convenient scapegoat for all Yemen’s troubles.
Over the last three months, armed Houthi militias have forced thousands of migrants out of northern Yemen, dumping them in the desert without food or water. Others are forced to the border with Saudi Arabia, where they are shot outright by border guards, or detained in prisons to be beaten, starved, and left to sleep on the same concrete floor they must use as a toilet. Survivors are often deported by Saudi authorities, although the Ethiopian government is protesting that it cannot handle the thousands of returnees.
Putting COVID-19 to Bed
- With India’s coronavirus infections rapidly increasing, the country has opened one of the largest hospitals in the world to combat the disease. The 10,000 bed Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre, located in the Chattarpur area of Delhi, became partly operational on Sunday when 2,000 of its beds became available. The facility’s remaining 8,000 beds will be available on Wednesday.
- India’s health ministry reported the country saw its largest rise of COVID-19 cases on Sunday: 19,906 new cases and 410 new deaths, bringing its total to 528,859 positive cases and 16,095 fatalities.
- Delhi has recently become one of the biggest COVID-19 hotspots in India, and officials predict that the city will reach 500,000 cases by July. This increase in cases would force Delhi to build 80,000 more hospital beds by that time.
- The municipal government of Delhi also launched an app to help citizens find hospitals with available beds and file complaints if patients are refused service. While more beds are available and more people know about them, many patients aren’t getting the service they need: hospitals are understaffed and undersupplied, with some patients not receiving any care besides a bed and an oxygen supply. (CNN)
Things are Going South
- While governments in Europe and some parts of Asia have managed to stem the spread of COVID-19, Latin America and the Caribbean have emerged as one of the epicenters of the pandemic.
- This region — home to 654 million people — accounts for some 25 percent of the 10 million COVID-19 cases confirmed globally. The poorest country in the Americas is Haiti, where many people live in densely-packed neighborhoods having little or no access to running water, sanitation and health facilities. Thanks to their living conditions, residents in Haiti are unable to follow even the most basic hygiene guidelines experts recommend to prevent contracting the highly infectious coronavirus.
- Given the overcrowded conditions and insufficient government welfare, most people can’t quarantine even if ill. The situation throughout the region is deteriorating rapidly, with the number of cases more than tripling in a month: from 690,000 in May to around 2.5 million currently.
- Brazil and Mexico make up more than half the region’s population, but their populist leaders eschew scientific opinion, downplay the virus’s threat, resist lockdowns, and continue holding political rallies. (Reuters)
Additional World News
- Afghan Deaths Pile Up in Uncertainty Over U.S. Deal With Taliban (NYT, $)
- How Telegram’s Pavel Durov beat the Kremlin’s Internet guardians. (WaPo, $)
- U.S. Accuses Russian Military Hackers of Attack on Email Servers (NYT, $)
- Just 6% of UK public ‘want a return to pre-pandemic economy’ (Guardian)
- Everyone loses from Netanyahu’s territorial ambitions (Guardian)
- China’s New National Security Law Looms Over Hong Kong (NYT, $)
- Russian mining giant admits pumping wastewater into Arctic tundra (Guardian)
- Russia denies its nuclear plants are source of radiation leak (BBC)
- The Himalaya should be a nature reserve (Nature)
- Global COVID-19 Deaths Top 500,000 (NPR)
- Health secretary: ‘Window is closing’ to stop coronavirus as US cases pass 2.5m (Guardian)
- Actual Coronavirus Infections Vastly Undercounted, C.D.C. Data Shows (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus Map And Graphics: Track The Spread In The US (NPR)
- The new COVID-19 surge may be harder to contain (Verge)
- The Secret to a Safe Reopening During the Pandemic (Foreign Affairs)
- Why simple cloth masks without valves are better at fighting the spread of covid-19 (WaPo, $)
- What to Do When You Need to Use a Public Bathroom During a Pandemic (NYT, $)
- If you’ve ever considered giving an electric bike a try, there’s no better time than today. A ride around the neighborhood with the wind blowing past is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face, and we could all use a smile right now.
- Take it from thousands of customers who Ride Rad with Rad Power Bikes, a direct to consumer company that designs ebikes that are packed with power, comfort, and utility and brings to them riders at radically low prices.
- Some people bike for fitness, but others bike for convenience or enjoyment. Ebikes don’t give you a sweaty workout, but when you’re slogging home from grocery shopping or cruising around town, that’s kind of the point. Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, ebikes are an accessible way to hit the road again.
- To save on costs (to the Earth and your piggy bank) while getting outside, check out Rad Power Bikes now for your new ride.
Facebook Facing A Boycott
(Drew Angerer via Getty Images)
- Social media has always been a hotbed for political controversy, but it took the 2016 election for us to truly appreciate the role that platforms — and their respective policies — play in shaping civil discourse. As people come to appreciate the immense power of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, their leadership now find themselves at the center of the nation’s free speech debate.
- Twitter drew a line in the sand with their controversial labeling of President Trump’s tweets, signalling their willingness to censor problematic content. Facebook, on the other hand, has been extremely hesitant to involve themselves in any form of fact-checking. Now, advertisers are beginning to take notice.
- A boycott movement, entitled #StopHateForProfit, sprung up earlier this month, asking “large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.” Vocally progressive companies such as Ben and Jerry’s, Patagonia, and The North Face quickly took notice and pledged to halt their online ad campaigns.
- The movement didn’t stop there. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Verizon have since followed suit, pledging to suspend all ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram for the time being. As more iconic brands turn their back on Facebook, the social media giant is starting to feel the pressure financially.
- Stock prices dipped 8.3% on Friday, after consumer goods behemoth Unilever pulled their ads off the site, wiping $56 billion from Facebook’s market value. The boycott has shaved over $7 billion off of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth, and shows no signs of slowing down. (Bloomberg)
- Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him. (WaPo, $)
White Power From the White House
- President Trump tweeted a video of a supporter shouting, “White power! White power!” after an outpouring of grief and outrage at racist language flowing directly from the White House once again. The video featured profanity-laced arguments among residents of The Villages, a predominantly white, conservative retirement community in Florida.
- Trump’s tweet said “Thank you to the great people of The Villages” when sharing the video, which begins with a white man driving a golf cart with a “Trump 2020” sign, spouting racist rhetoric at white anti-Trump protesters. The offensive tweet was deleted some four hours later after drawing fierce criticism from across the political spectrum.
- The White House deputy press secretary claimed the president hadn’t heard the racist language, but a former speechwriter for President Obama said the tweet was part of Trump’s re-election strategy to shore up support among his base of white and evangelical Christian voters. (Guardian)
Additional USA News
- Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate emblem from state flag (Guardian)
- Chesapeake Energy, a Shale Pioneer, Files for Bankruptcy Protection: The company helped turn the United States into a gas exporter but became known for an illegal scheme to suppress the price of oil and gas leases. (NYT, $)
- Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments (WaPo, $)
- Trump denies being told about Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan (Reuters)
- How a veteran’s secret podcast put her in the Trump administration’s crosshairs (Politico)
- Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus scale up even as he seeks to move on (CNN)
- Trump admits it: He’s losing (Politico)
- Did Sacha Baron Cohen Prank A Far-Right Militia? (NPR)
- NYC Mayor Says He Will Shut Down Sales Of Illegal Fireworks (NPR)
- Obamacare Faces Unprecedented Test as Economy Sinks: The battles over the health law have played out during a decade of continuous economic growth. How it performs as a safety net now may help determine its future. (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus Left Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in ‘Total Pandemonium’ (NYT, $)
- Strong winds and low humidity will bring critical wildfire danger to much of the West (LA Times, $)
- Three Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ (NYT, $)
- How George Floyd and Black Lives Matter changed the Democratic Party (Vox)
- Beyoncé urges Black community to ‘vote like our life depends on it’ in BET awards speech (Guardian). Right now it feels like our politicians should be in movies and our musicians and athletes should be leading our government.
Wiped Out: What Toilet Paper Shortage Tells Us About Fear
- Remember when the world ran out of toilet paper? While the nauseating pace of the news cycle makes March feel like a distant memory, it is worth reflecting on the fact that the United States witnessed a legitimate toilet paper shortage during the month of March. While the phenomenon was short-lived, it told us a lot about our collective vulnerabilities, from supply chains to how we react to feelings of uncertainty.
- Researchers in Germany recently conducted a study attempting to explain this strange consumer behavior. They came to the conclusion that stockpiling serves primarily as a symbolic act of crisis control, and that the specific hoarding of toilet paper was merely a consequence of constant media coverage.
- “Even the most humble and moral individuals might stockpile toilet paper as long as they feel sufficiently threatened by the pandemic,” the study said. “Given that stockpiling is objectively unrelated to saving lives or jobs during a health crisis, this finding supports the notion that toilet paper functions as a purely subjective symbol of safety.”
- An individual’s susceptibility to this type of consumer mob-mentality can be traced back to how they deal with fear. Through a series of personality tests, the study revealed that the strongest predictor of toilet-paper hoarding was how much people felt threatened by COVID-19.
- While this may seem obvious, using toilet paper as a metric of pandemic anxiety gives us some peculiar insights into the psyche of different populations. Some notable takeaways: old people were much more likely to stockpile toilet paper, while Americans hoarded more than Europeans. (Ars Technica)
- Let’s hope with Covid-19 Part Deux that we don’t have another wave of panic buying.
- Strands of evidence about cancer evolution (Nature)
- Beyond Pluto: the hunt for our solar system’s new ninth planet (Guardian)
- Dog Breeding in the Neolithic Age (NYT, $)
- Majestic Icon or Invasive Pest? A War Over Australia’s Wild Horses (NYT, $)
- What’s the best thing to do with unwanted statues? (BBC)
- New polymer easily captures gold extracted from e-waste (Ars Technica) One person’s trash will even more so now become another person’s treasure.
- Could adding a new public holiday boost the economy? (BBC) Like many other companies we recently celebrated Juneteenth. Perhaps doing so isn’t just the right thing but it’s also the good thing for the economy? A win for vision and win for transaction.
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