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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/09/2020

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/09/2020

File:Wildfire California Santa Clarita.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

New York Times– Patrick Kingsley / Fire destroys most of EU’s largest refugee camp, on Greek Island of Lesbos

  • Europe’s largest refugee camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos, has long been a desperate makeshift home for thousands of refugees and migrants who have risked everything to flee war and economic hardship for a better life. They lived in cramped tents with limited access to toilets, showers and health care
  • On Tuesday night, that disaster came. A fast-moving fire destroyed much of the camp, leaving most of its 12,000 residents homeless. By Wednesday, a process of soul-searching had begun among many Europeans, for whom the Moria camp, and the neglect of its residents, has long been synonymous with the continent’s increasingly unsympathetic approach to refugees.
  • Aid workers, activists and officials said a series of fires were started intentionally by a group of camp residents who were furious at being forced to quarantine after at least 35 people tested positive for coronavirus at the camp.
  • “This fire was expected,” said Eva Cossé, who leads research in Greece for Human Rights Watch, an independent New York-based rights organization. “It’s not surprising. It’s a testament to the European Union’s negligence and Greece’s negligence.”
  • Politico- David Herszenhorn, Jacopo Barigazzi and Nektaria Stamouli Greek refugee camp blaze highlights EU’s migration failure

Washington Post– Samantha Schmidt, Scott Wilson and Chris Mooney / Oregon wildfires race through small towns, scorching hundreds of buildings

  • A stiffening overnight wind, sweeping from the north and east, kicked up new fires and blew new life into simmering ones from the Cascade Range in the northwest to the Angeles National Forest east of Los Angeles. Those winds are predicted to spike in Southern California during the next few days, creating fresh concern that blazes in the region could drive toward more populated areas.
  • More than 42,000 Oregonians have been ordered to evacuate their homes, a frightening, disruptive annual routine in California but a relative novelty for its northern neighbor. Some of those who fled gathered in an evacuation center on the state fairgrounds here in the capital, describing a rushed, fearful flight under a sky raining ash.
  • The new round of wildfires started during a record, now-fading heat wave that heightened fire risks across the West, where more than 70 fires are burning in at least a half-dozen states. Fire has charred more than 2.3 million acres in California alone, a record for a state that has endured its deadliest and most far-reaching wildfires in history in just the past three years.
  • “This year fits into a string of years that we’ve seen play out in California and other areas globally whereby warmer and drier fire seasons lead to drier fuels, and that provides a critical ingredient to fire activity,” said John Abatzoglou, an expert on fires and climate at the University of California at Merced.
  • Bloomberg – Sarah HolderThe Day the sky turned orange

Financial Times – Demetri SevastopouloDonald Trump says he wanted to ‘play down’ threat of Covid

  • Donald Trump told Bob Woodward, the Washington Post journalist, that he played down the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic even after his aides said it would be the “roughest thing” he would face as US president.
  • “I don’t want to create panic,” the president told reporters. “I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength as a nation . . . That is what I have done.”
  • In a phone call the following week, Mr Trump told Mr Woodward that the virus was much more serious than his public comments suggested.  “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Mr Trump said. “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
  • “He knew how deadly it was . . . and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied,” Mr Biden said. “He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was. He failed to do his job — on purpose. It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty.”
  • Washington Post – Glenn Kessler / Trump says he didn’t want to spark panic. But he’s running on fear

Project Syndicate – Dani Rodrik / The coming global technology fracture

  • The international trade regime we now have, expressed in the rules of the World Trade Organization and other agreements, is not of this world.  It was designed for a world of cars, steel, and textiles, not one of data, software, and artificial intelligence (…) It is utterly inadequate to face the three main challenges these new technologies pose.
  • First, there is geopolitics and national security. Digital technologies allow foreign powers to hack industrial networks, conduct cyber-espionage, and manipulate social media (…) Second, there are concerns about individual privacy (…) Third, there is economics. New technologies give a competitive edge to large companies that can accumulate enormous global market power.
  • A common response to these challenges is to call for greater international coordination and global rules. Transnational regulatory cooperation and anti-trust policies could produce new standards and enforcement mechanisms.
  • The Huawei case is a harbinger of a world in which national security, privacy, and economics will interact in complicated ways. Global governance and multilateralism will often fail, for both good and bad reasons. The best we can expect is a regulatory patchwork, based on clear ground rules that help empower countries to pursue their core national interests without exporting their problems to others.
  • Foreign Affairs – Adam Segal / The coming tech Cold War with China

Today’s long read:

The New Yorker – Jane Hu / The new Mulan’s umcomfortable relationship with China’s past and present

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.


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