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What a coronavirus pandemic looks like when you don’t have internet

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How Covid-19 misinformation is still spreading online

They told him a deadly virus “like whooping cough” that gripped the country and even hit the nearby city of Maicao. But he doubted it was very close to home. “I don’t know if this is true,” said Montiel, 38, who is part of the country’s largest indigenous group, Wayuu.

When the Colombian government issued a national lockdown at the end of April, she and her husband were advised to stay home with their three children, keep their distance from others, wash their hands and wear masks to avoid the virus, which has killed more than 365,000 people worldwide.

But for Montiels, the order to stay home is a type of death sentence itself.

Before locking, Angela occasionally refills the SIM card to use WhatsApp, but hasn’t been able to recharge since locking. Without an internet connection, there is no way to “work remotely”. Angela knits Wayuu’s traditional mochila bags but she cannot sell them on the street under current limits.

For now, his family survived an emergency cash payment from the non-governmental organization Mercy Corps. It is not possible for her children to continue their education from home without access to school material online. As for updates, they are waiting for phone calls from friends or family, who might bring news. Otherwise they are in the dark.

“Seeing that we don’t have TV, internet or anything, we don’t know whether that is still happening or whether it will continue, so obviously we can’t go or move,” Montiel said. “We are desperate.”

Based on UN estimates, nearly half of the global population – 46% – is still not connected to the internet. For them, lockdown means losing direct access to vital public health information, remote employment opportunities, online learning, the promise of telemedicine, digital food delivery, live religious broadcasts – wedding, and even funeral – As well as many other ways we increasingly live our lives online.

Governments around the world have committed to provide universal access by 2020, but the digital divide is still running in and expanding the gap offline as well.

People in poorer areas are less likely to connect, as are women, the elderly and those who live in remote or rural areas. And in many cases, connectivity can be tenuous – the closure of offices, schools or public spaces, such as libraries and cafes, has severed access for many people.

“We always say that there are around 3.5 billion people who are not connected, but we know that there are more now, because quite a lot of people who used to be connected in their workplaces and other public spaces no longer have that access,” Eleanor Sarpong said, deputy director at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

“Covid-19 has shown that there is a huge gap, and it is really shocking for some governments. When they ask their employees to go to work from home … many of them can’t.”

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Sarpong hopes the crisis will penetrate long-standing barriers to internet access – from lack of political will to regulatory hurdles and data affordability – to make more of the world connected.

A4AI, a World Wide Web Foundation initiative, founded by Tim Berners-Lee, recently shared a series of policy recommendations, urging governments, companies and civil society to take urgent action to bring as many people online as possible during the pandemic. Among their direct recommendations are: remove consumer tax on internet services; cut data costs for public websites; provide affordable data packages; expanding broadband benefits; and launch a free public wifi infrastructure. Some have already taken these steps.

“The government needs to see internet access, not as a luxury, but to see it as an enabler that can change their economy … I think that’s a call for them,” Sarpong said.

Digital gender gap

Digital technology has rapidly revolutionized life as we know it. But not everyone gets the same benefits, and many are left behind due to lack of infrastructure, literacy and training.

In the most developed countries in the world, it’s fair 19% of people are online. Men are 21% more likely than women to be connected – and that the gender gap is only widening.

In India, an aggressive approach to digitalization has moved most of the benefits of online government – from rations to pensions. Even before the pandemic, the poorest country in the country relied on digital, even though half of the population was offline.

The pandemic only magnifies the irony of the situation.

When the crisis hit and 1.3 billion people in India are locked up, informal nation the economy ground to stop squeaky. So when the government announced it would send cash transfers directly to vulnerable women, widows, senior citizens and disabled people for three months starting April 1, that was good news. But, stuck at home without a smartphone, many cannot access 500 to 1,000 rupees ($ 6 to $ 13) in assistance.
People wait outside the bank when locked in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on April 9.

Lal Bai, a 65-year-old widow living in a remote village in Rajasthan, cannot travel five miles to the nearest town to withdraw government cash, and has no means to access government funds online, so she soon finds herself without food left at home.

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Confused, Bai ended up at the door of Ombati Prajapati, who manages a digital service shop in her village. “He’s the only one who will help me.”

Prajapati is among 10,000 “soochnapreneurs,” or digital entrepreneurs, who have been trained and supported by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), an NGO based in New Delhi, in a rural area of ​​the country. In the midst of locking up, they help provide important digital services, including remote banking, which allows people like Bai to withdraw cash using cellular biometric ATMs. And they even help fight misinformation.

“Only because of the internet can I see what is happening and tell others that they must regularly wash their hands with soap, use cleanser, wear masks,” Prajapati said, 27. “I will not be able to help one of these people [if I had not learned how to use the internet]. I can’t even help myself. “

Osama Manzar, a social entrepreneur and founder of DEF, said that their job training like Prajapati has shown how important it is to have digital infrastructure available up to the last mile – especially during disasters.

“Connectivity and access to the internet must be part of human rights. That must be considered, in times of pandemics and disasters, just as you provide access to food or water, there must be a way to provide access to data,” Manzar said.

Problems for rich countries too

The digital divide has long been considered a development problem. But the pandemic highlights that Rich countries also suffer from digital shortages.

More than four out of 10 low-income households in America do not have access to broadband services, according to research by Pew. And in the UK, 1.9 million households do not have access to the internet, while tens of millions of others rely on pay-as-you-go services to get online.

“Sometimes people talk about Covid-19 as a great leveler. But actually, the way people experience locking is not at all the same,” said Helen Milner, chief executive Good Things Foundation, a British charity that works with the government to get more people online.
The breeding ground surprised America for inequality: the Internet

“Digital exclusion, for many, is only an extension of the social exclusion they face, and poverty is clearly part of it.”

The British Government has recently launched a number of initiatives to help try and overcome digital exceptions. Among the schemes is a new campaign, DevicesDotNow, which asks businesses to donate devices, sims and mobile hotspots. The Good Things Foundation helps provide tools to those in need, and helps with training. So far, they have distributed nearly 2,000 tablets
Among the recipients was Annette Addison, who lives alone in a flat in Birmingham, central England and uses a wheelchair to get around. Before kuncitara, he will go to the local community center to access the internet and get help with disability payments. But without a smartphone, he said he felt isolated and in the dark about its beneficial status.

“I didn’t overcome it at all. I was very lonely and depressed when the lockdown first started, but because I had taken a tablet … when I felt lonely, I could talk to my grandchildren or my daughter. I always connected with them, because they always online. “

Why rural Americans have difficulty working from home

On May 1, Addison was 60 years old. He celebrates with his grandchildren via video chat on his new iPad – the same iPad that he now uses to check his support portal. And he recently signed up for a dating site. “I feel like a teenager,” he said.

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But when the government tries to launch digital services to the most needy, the question remains: Who gets the device and who doesn’t?

Hafsha Shaikh, founder SmartLyte, the digital skills center that distributes devices to Addison, said it was a question that haunted him.

“The device is not only about direct support for Covid, but it is about opening gates, for parents and families, for aspirations and opportunities,” Shaikh said. There are currently 1,500 on the waiting list.

“The biggest challenge is, who should I choose?”

Swati Gupta and Jack Guy from CNN contributed to this report.

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.

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“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control

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Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.

NPS // PYAA

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Lusa/The End

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