Roundup #158

No. 158—April 26, 2019—sent to 1,400+
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New events

North Africa

Algeria: How unemployment drove the protests - Link
… movements that can help solve economic problems will have incredible impact/influence

Egypt: votes in snap referendum on keeping Sisi in power - Link
… “marks the end of the constitutional guarantee that presidents may only rule for two years, the last remaining achievement of the 2011 uprising”

Libya: Tripoli neighborhoods turning into battlefields - Link
… Death toll rises above 250 - Link

West Africa

Interpol rescues dozens of child slaves from slave markets in West Africa - Link
… illustrates how slavery continues today. As movements grow in size, many take on social transformation ministries such as rescuing children from trafficking and slavery. “What would you do if it were your son or daughter? Shouldn’t we act as if they were our sons and daughters?”

Mali: government resigns over March massacre of 160 Fulani herders - Link

Niger: Boko Haram threatens civilian lives in the Lake Chad region - Link
… war at the heart of West Africa - FT, $

Malohiya: the unknown smuggler from Niger - Link
… “The capture of one of Niger's most wanted human smugglers last November struck a powerful blow to the migration business in Agadez, a key city for Western travellers aiming to cross the Sahara to Libya or Algeria.”

Migrants flee to Niger as fighting surges in Libya - Link

Nigeria: “Preaching, power and private jets” - Link

East Africa/Horn

Eritrea: Watching: Eritrea unilaterally shuts all borders with Ethiopia - Link
… no notice given to Ethiopia. No explanation from Eritrea capital.

Ethiopia: Permaculture brings prosperity to (some) rural areas - Link

Somalia: The man behind Somalia’s only free ambulance service - Link
… is there a ministry option somewhere in here?

Sudan: 3 top generals agree to quit as protests continue - Link
… Protestors vow to remain on streets despite warnings - Link

Central Asia

Tajikistan introduces fees for foreign tourists and pilgrims - Link

West Asia/Gulf

Iraq: Over 25,000 Christians have returned to their homes in Qaraqosh, Nineveh - Link
… once home to over 50,000 Christians.
… related: “Iraq’s Oldest Christian town celebrates Easter” - Link

Syria: “More help is needed to encourage Christians to stay in the country” - Link
… “What is preventing them from staying is the instability in their work, the insecurity and vulnerability that they are facing, economic difficulties and dreadful living conditions.”

South Asia

Afghanistan: “Remaining hopes for intra-Afghan talks … are predicated on a belief in a changed Taliban… more pragmatic, less dogmatic movement… this picture is essentially false…” - Link

Iran: New leader of Revolutionary Guards appointed - Link
… has issued threats against foreign powers, incl Israel and USA, in the recent past
… a more detailed profile here: “hawkish” - Link

India: is changing some cities’s names, and Muslims are afraid their heritage is being erased - Link

India’s farmers are hurting and millions are voting - Link
… More than half of the nation are farmers. The BJP is urgently courting them.

Sri Lanka Easter Bombings
300+ killed and 500+ injured at churches and hotels - CT
… NYT: What we know and don’t know - Link
… CNN with maps of where the bombings happened - Link
A little-known radical Islamist group was labeled as responsible - Link
… although many believe they received assistance from abroad - Link
… non-residential terror: ISIS doesn’t need to control territory to be a threat - Link
… (decentralization can adapt/adjust around command-and-control)
Government blocked social media to prevent violence from going viral - Link
… Jihadist violence erupts in a country riven by communal tensions - Stratfor
… All Catholic services suspended until security improves - Link
… Now Muslims within Sri Lanka are facing a rising backlash - Link
CT: how one Sri Lankan Sunday school was willing to die for Jesus, “and half did” - Link

East Asia

China: is replacing America as Asia’s military titan - Link

Southeast Asia

Laos: police allegedly arrest citizen for practicing Christianity - Link

“S*x, casinos and tiger parts: Myanmar’s vice-riddled China frontier” - Link
… “This area of Myanmar is largely self-governed - lying within the country's borders but playing by its own rules, nestled in the eastern range of mountains and cut off from the rest of the country. Instead, it looks to China.”

Also

USA: Many Chinese immigrants are joining the Catholic Church - Link

D.C., a call for restaurants to give fasting Muslims alternative to IHOP at Ramadan - Link
… “For their last full meal before a full day of fasting, many American Muslim families down a plate of pancakes at IHOP. It’s not because Muslims like pancakes more than other Americans. It’s because the 24-hour pancake house chain is often the only local restaurant open at suhoor, the meal eaten just before the ritual fast begins at daybreak.” (Is there a ministry option here?)

Data

This year’s 30 Days of Prayer for Ramadan booklets are available here - Link
… Prayercast will release 130 new videos to help people pray for Muslims - Link

54 million tons: the amount of pork China produces - Link
… one reason Islam has never really made an impact in China
… China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork
… pork prices are set to rise as African swine flu has swept China - Link

Reading

Religious minorities across Asia suffer amid surge in sectarian politics - NYT
… “The bombings of three churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday highlighted the vulnerability of Christians in Asia”

“The ultimate productivity hack is saying no.” - Link

Why mission experts are redefining “unreached people groups” - Link
… Christianity Today finds out about Becky Lewis’s passionate effort to mobilize workers to frontier people groups.

Future, Tech

Chat apps I am using: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Threema, Slack.
… It pays to be multilingual in platforms.

I am also using the Simplify extension for Gmail in Chrome
… massively reduces the clutter of the interface.

3 in 10 of World Citizens are on Facebook - Link
… might a future “inequality” be Facebook access?

A pending change in how the Internet’s DNS system works (rolling out with Chrome) as lots of people riled up. It could break existing systems for filtering - Link
… “Thinking of it as a built-in, always-on VPN”
… “With DNS queries encrypted, it would be impossible for ISPs to filter out illegal or inappropriate material… no way of tracking, filtering or policing browsing… would invalidate child safety locks and render useless the planned porn filter… also make government online snooping much more difficult…”
… I use OpenDNS to filter. I’ll be watching to see if these changes impact that system.

In China, Alipay is launching version 2 of its Dragonfly facial recognition system - Link

China is exporting surveillance cameras - and also how to use them - to autocratic governments. Insightful, chilling video - Link
… related text article - Link

How Chinese Internet trolls go after Beijing’s critics overseas - Link

USA: the NSA pushing to drop the program that collects details of all phone and text messages - Link

10%: percentage of Americans don’t use the Internet - Link
… a good reminder that there are still %s of populations unreached by Internet tools

$2.7 billion: losses from online theft, fraud, exploitation in 2018, from $1.4b in 2017 - Link

“The twilight of combustion comes for Germany’s Empire of Engines” - Link
… the transition to electric motors is causing pain for engine makers

Ben Evans’ “Notes on AI Bias” is a great, accessible read to the subject - Link

$1Billion: Amazon will invest in dropping Prime 2-day shipping to 1-day shipping - Link
… one question that comes to mind: as Amazon insinuates itself into our lives, providing every material need required within 24 hours or less, how many people will need to “leave the house”? Granted that’s a very far out sort of boundary, but “going to the store” is increasingly less required. Already Amazon has devastated bookstores and is a big player in the clothing, jewelry, perfume, house goods, etc., markets. It is making a play into the grocery markets. Will its in-reach lower the serendipitous encounters between people, and thus leave us free to remain in our small bubbles and social in-groups?

Not letting Amazon getting ahead? Walmart opens an AI-powered “store of the future” featuring cameras, etc. - Link

Quotable

“Trees that grow tall have deep roots. Great height without great depth is dangerous.” ~Henri Nouwen