Updated: Aug 2, 2020
1. Tragic mystery of dead Botswana elephants appears to be solved
The tragic death of more than 281 elephants in Botswana is believed to have stemmed from natural toxins. Cyril Taolo, Director of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, ruled out an infectious disease, while it is seen as unlikely that poaching would be the cause given the carcasses remained intact. The investigation now seems focused on toxins produced naturally from bacteria, possibly in sources of water.
2. Rwanda using AI to assist in its fight against COVID.
Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation, in partnership with the UNDP, have purchased and put into action 5 robots from Belgian outfit Zora Bots to help scan and check people for COVID-19 symptoms. The 5 human-size robots are programmed to perform temperature screening, take readings of vitals, deliver video messages and detect people not wearing masks then instruct them to wear masks properly.
From drones, to AI, and advanced biotech screening, the Coronavirus has demonstrated the value in applying new technology to existing security issues. This story reminds us how much can be achieved by a forward leaning, tech savvy government willing to work alongside international and private sector partners.
3. Pakistan Security Forces kill Baloch Terrorists.
Pre-empting a planned attack in the Punjab by Baloch separatists, Pakistani security forces shot dead 5 members of the outlawed Balochistan Republican Army, with . 1 improvised explosive device, 3 submachine guns, 2 pistols, 4 kgs explosives, 4 detonators and ammunition were found on their possession, three terrorists escaped. In a reversal of fortunes, 7 Pakistani Army personnel were said to have been killed in Balochistan by members of the Balochistan Liberation Army.
Balochi separatists have long fought an insurgent battle for secession from Pakistan. Recent Chinese-originated investment in Pakistan’s southern region appears to have sparked some deeper resentment among separatist and Baloch nationalist elements, worried that they will see little practical return from this investment in Balochistan.
4. Over a quarter of Bangladesh impacted by Monsoon flooding.
One of the most severe monsoons in recent years has seen over 25% of Bangladesh impacted or submerged by flood water. Satellite images from NASA have shown the severity of the flooding, with experts anticipating the floods to be the worst in a decade, and the longest lasting since 1988. As of July 31, the Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre reported water levels along the Jamuna River were at or above “danger level.” Almost a million homes were inundated, and more than 1,500 square kilometers (600 square miles) of farmland were damaged across the country. Several areas are also isolated due flooded roads. Four million people are believed to have been impacted by these floods.
CSG has teamed up with The Environmental Design Studio to explore options for addressing severe flooding in Commonwealth countries. Contact us for more information.
5. Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak imprisoned.
In a landmark corruption case, former PM Najib Razak has been imprisoned for 12 years, suspended pending appeal, for money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power. The verdict pertains to money transferred from the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009, to the then-prime minister's private accounts. The missing funds have been associated with luxury real estate, a private jet, Van Gogh and Monet artworks, and a Hollywood film, the Wolf of Wall Street. Former PM Razak was cleared of all wrong-doing during his time in office, but upon losing the 2018 election, saw the case reopened by the new government. Pending appeal, the case is seen as a significant indicator of Malaysia’s anti-corruption drive.