Coronavirus: The race to stop the virus spread in Asia’s ‘biggest slum’

But an outbreak of coronavirus in a place where social distancing is an oxymoron could easily turn into a grave public health emergency and overwhelm the city’s stretched public health system.

Nobody realises this more than the officials racing to track and contain the infection.

Patient No 1 of Dharavi lived with his eight-member family – his wife, four daughters, and two sons – in a poky 420 sq ft one-room apartment in a low-rise slum tenement ringed by squalid shanties.

…The man owned another apartment in the same complex. There he hosted five people who had reportedly arrived from Delhi after attending a conference in early March organised by Tablighi Jamaat.

…Hundreds of people who attended the religious event in the capital set off several Covid-19 clusters across the country and are now linked to some 650 cases across 14 states.

The police believe the five men lived in the Dharavi apartment for two days – between 19 and 21 March- before they left for Kerala. “We are trying to trace these people,” said Mr Dighavkar.

…On Thursday, a 35-year-old doctor working with a private hospital and living in the slum tested positive for the virus. Municipality workers scrambled to isolate and seal 300 people living in the doctor’s building. They have also identified 13 high-risk contacts in the building and sent their swabs for testing. The doctor told officials that two nurses in his hospital had tested positive for the virus. And at the weekend, a 30-year-old woman inside the same building complex as the trader, a 60-year-old man, who owns a metal fabrication shop and a 21-year-old male lab technician, tested positive.

“We are still able to try to contain the infection of the gated slum colonies. But there are the slums outside, and if we get cases there, we can’t isolate them at home, and have to send even the high-risk cases to the sports complex quarantine centre,” says Mr Dighavkar.

Coronavirus: The race to stop the virus spread in Asia’s ‘biggest slum’ – BBC News


Has Putin already disrupted the 2020 elections?

Meanwhile, intelligence officials tell Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leading candidate to unseat the president, that Russian bots have infiltrated his online army to sow discord in the Democratic Party.

…Not sure what to believe? Bingo. This fever of mistrust is the desired symptom of a powerful virus — a confidence-sapping worm of mutual suspicion — that Russia has planted in the operating system of American democracy. At little cost and with surprising ease, Vladimir Putin and his government have exploited partisanship and social media to serve Russia’s long-term goal of weakening the West by encouraging disorder and disunity. Already, eight months before Election Day, the virus is spreading virtually unchecked, because the very existence of a Russian chaos project has itself become a partisan wedge.

…Seizing opportunities on the lawless frontiers of social media, the Russian leader has stoked division, spread disinformation, fanned conspiracy theories and generally mind-gamed the American system.

…It’s ironic that Americans of all political stripes have contributed to Putin’s success — by failing to understand what he wants and why he wants it. 

…A unified United States, pursuing a bipartisan, pro-democracy foreign policy is Putin’s biggest fear. So, he has taken the risk of creating an operation specifically to sow discord through social media. Putin’s computer hackers look for any internal divisions and tensions that tend to erode American unity or discredit American leadership. Though he clearly favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Putin doesn’t generally favor one point of view over another; he supports whichever candidates are most divisive and amplifies whatever arguments are most bitter. 

…So, too, history will eventually confirm the foundational fact of Putin’s deliberate hacking of the West. “The Russian Government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” the Mueller report concluded. As spelled out in a detailed federal indictment of the Internet Research Agency, Russian agents employed by a Putin associate began in 2014 to sow inflammatory lies and truly fake news on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Their strategy was simple enough: Find divisive wedge issues and try to hammer the wedge deeper.

Russian trolls and computer “bots” spread phony reports of a Muslim terrorist attack in Louisiana. They stoked racial tensions after controversial police shootings. They touted a nonexistent outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta and fanned baseless rumors of Ku Klux Klansmen loose on a Missouri college campus. Such seemingly scattershot efforts in fact were aimed precisely: anything likely to divide Americans from each other, or divide Americans from the world, was a candidate for amplification. Shake, stir and repeat.

Has Putin already disrupted the 2020 elections? – The Washington Post

Speculating about Putin’s motivations and referring to these thoughts as if they were facts is a wee bit much there, Drehle…

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Pledges To Invest $1 Billion In India

Amazon’s aggressive expansion in India has kickstarted an e-commerce boom in a country where hundreds of millions of people have rapidly come online through cheap smartphones and data plans in the last few years, and where most people outside urban areas do not have access to large retail chains. But it has also angered millions of small brick-and-mortar businesses, who say that Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, which dominate online shopping in the country, are affecting their livelihoods by using their deep pockets to heavily discount products and undercut traditional retailers.

Small business owners in the country have also accused online retailers like Amazon of violating the country’s foreign investment laws. …They’ve also accused the companies of striking deals with smartphone makers that force them to sell their devices online exclusively and not in traditional retail stores.

…“The goal of Amazon and Flipkart is to bring in crony capitalism in India, dominate and monopolize the market, wipe out the competition, and leave consumers with no choice,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal told BuzzFeed News at the protest site. Khandelwal claimed that over 100,000 small retailers had been driven out of business thanks to Amazon and Flipkart’s deep discounting in the last four months alone.

…When asked about Bezos’ latest billion-dollar investment to digitize India’s small and medium businesses, Khandelwal said that cash infusion was to help Amazon continue to sell products at a loss by offering large discounts. “They’re trying to build a wrong and a false narrative here,” he said. “That’s not acceptable.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Pledges To Invest $1 Billion In India


A revolution betrayed: The tragedy of Indonesia’s Jokowi

Jokowi has embraced hardline Islamists and members of the former dictatorial regime. And to make matters worse, he is sidelining political reform, including weakening anti-corruption agencies, in order to push through infrastructure development and please the country’s reactionary forces.

A revolution betrayed: The tragedy of Indonesia’s Jokowi | Asia | Al Jazeera