The Wednesday Politics Thread Looks Over There

The USA is again having a familiar nightmare due to gun violence, and who knows if enough will ever be enough to shift the recalcitrant right-wing position on gun control. With frustration assurgent and thoughts on the subject difficult to express at the moment, I’ll glance instead at the world outside.

As monkeypox panic spreads, doctors in Africa see a double standard

The virus — discovered five decades ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo — causes mild illness in most people, along with blisters that usually clear up in weeks, he said. It’s much less transmissible than the coronavirus and much less deadly than Ebola. There’s already an effective vaccine.

What bothers infectious-disease experts across the continent is the double standard that has emerged since monkeypox grabbed the world’s attention: Few seemed to care, or even notice, until people in the West started getting sick.

The Washington Post [archive]

More hardship as new sandstorm engulfs parts of Middle East

From Riyadh to Tehran, bright orange skies and a thick veil of grit signaled yet another stormy day Monday. Sandstorms are typical in late spring and summer, spurred by seasonal winds. But this year they have occurred nearly every week in Iraq since March.

The storms have sent thousands to hospitals and resulted in at least one death in Iraq and three in Syria’s east.

The Associated Press [archive]

The Topsy-Turvy End of Zero COVID in Taiwan

For more than two years, Taiwan was one of the only places on earth that aimed to keep the novel coronavirus outside its borders altogether.

The so-called Zero covid model—also adopted by China, Australia, and New Zealand—drastically reduced infections and allowed many daily activities to continue. This was what experts meant when they first talked about flattening the curve; Taiwan’s official covid-19 death toll remained in the single digits through the end of 2020.

Taiwan’s Zero covid strategy was finally upended on April 7th, when, in the face of an Omicron surge, Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s health minister, announced that the island was entering a transitional phase that would end in living with the virus. “We will not stop our journey towards opening up,” he told a parliamentary session. “The main goal now is harm mitigation.”

The New Yorker [archive]

The faces of China’s detention camps in Xinjiang

A new leak of Chinese government records reveals thousands of never-before seen mug shots of Uyghurs and other photos from inside the notorious internment camps, as well as new details of the national mass detention program.

These photos are part of the Xinjiang Police Files, an unprecedented leak of thousands of images and documents from the public security bureaus of China’s Konasheher and Tekes counties. The two counties are in Xinjiang, the majority-Muslim region in northwestern China where the national government has held hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in mass-internment camps.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [archive]

Duterte hits Putin: I kill criminals, not children, elders

“Many say that Putin and I are both killers. I’ve long told you Filipinos that I really kill. But I kill criminals, I don’t kill children and the elderly,” Duterte said in a televised weekly meeting with key Cabinet officials. “We’re in two different worlds.”

Duterte, who steps down on June 30 when his turbulent six-year term ends, has presided over a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead. Human rights groups have cited a much higher casualty and say innocent people, including children, have been killed in the campaign that Duterte vows to continue up to his last day in office.

The Associated Press [archive]

Victims of Duterte’s drug war in Philippines exhumed as leases run out on their graves

Victims were often buried in “apartment graves”. These are far more affordable than permanent sites or cremations, but they’re only temporary. After the lease expires, families are responsible for finding an alternative arrangement.

Cemeteries do not notify families of the impending expiration of apartment graves, said Father Flaviano Villanueva, a Catholic priest and the founder of St Arnold Janssen Kalinga Centre. Instead, graves can be cleared without warning. “If you go at the right time, you will see piles of sacks of bones placed, collected, gathered, and later on buried in a common gravesite,” he said.

For families, it means losing their loved ones a second time.

The Guardian [archive]

Keep doing your thing, politicados. The news may be miserable, but I’d rather discuss it here than anyplace else. Of course, the one key to any good comment is a healthy respect for the McSquirrel Rule. And a glance at the Clam Pile to avoid reposts — two keys! Also a fanatical devotion to The Pit … you get it.

Happy 79th Birthday to Leslie Uggams!