Roundup #173
September 6, 2019

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New Events

North-West Africa

7th month of protests in Algeria: "As protests enter their seventh month, Algerians continue to demonstrate en masse against a military-backed government intent on retaining its power. Many however question whether the protests will succeed against an entrenched military." - Link

North Africa / Warring States

Libyans continue to fight as battle for Tripoli rages on - Link
… 100 killed, 300 injured, 12,000 displaced
… Libya has been fighting on and off for 7 years since the fall of Gadaffi in 2011.

The ‘water war’ in Libya - Link

Egypt / Sudan

Sudan starts corruption trial for Bashir - Link

Sudanese youth ’show us how to counter sexual violence’ - Link
… discusses the horrific violence as part of the June 3 Khartoum massacre
… 400 killed, 100s raped ’to break will in an attempt to completely defeat the revolution’

6.3 million Sudanese facing a food crisis - Link

Western Africa / Lake Chad

Ghana: farmers revitalizing soils in the face of desertification - Link

Why are millions of children not in school in West Africa? Link
… 1.9m out of school because armed groups are targeting schools, teachers, students

Nigeria

Photos: Nigeria festival celebrates Yoruba fertility goddess - Link

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

New political transition could bring peace to Darfur in Sudan - Link

Somalia: worst harvest since 2011, with 2 million at risk of starving - Link

“If I don’t pay they kill me" - Link
... "Al Shabaab tightens its grip on Somalia with growing tax racket”
… “in most of rural Somalia, al-Shabaab is in firm control… expanding into the capital…"

Southern Africa

Violence, looting broke out in Johannesburg - Link
… is it crime? Is it xenophobia? Many argue both sides.

Central Asia / Caucasus

Kyrgyzstan attempts to isolate local Islam - Link
… "Nowadays religious diversity is rising in Kyrgyzstan in comparison with its Central Asian neighbors, due in part to lighter government control."

Turkmenistan’s cotton-picking season is beckoning, with all its forced labor - Link

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

Yemenis sell homes, cross front lines of war to reach Mecca - Link
… despite grinding poverty, thousands travel through dangerous lands to make the hajj
… in photos: Ethiopians, too, walking through war zones to Mecca - Link

Syria: Darayya: three years in waiting for the return of life - Link

Guns, filth and ISIS: Syrian Al Hol camp is a ‘disaster in the making’ - Link
… Kurdish-run camp struggling to serve 70k ‘in something more like a prison than a camp’
… and, ‘women are brutally enforcing the group’s militant rules’ - Link

“I couldn’t stop crying”: Saudi women react to new travel and work rights - Link

West Asia / Turkey

Uighurs no longer feel safe in Turkey - Link
… Turkey sees itself as a leading supporter of the Uighurs
... but Uighurs feel Ankara’s increasing reluctance to upset China

Migrants as a political weapon: Turkey threatens to ‘open the flood gates’ and let migrants into the West unless a controversial safe zone is set up - Link

Iran/Iraq

Iraqi Mandeans fear extinction - Link

Iraqi govt denying education to children whose parents have perceived IS affiliation - Link

Israel-Iran ’shadow war’ broke out into the open - Link
… series of recent attacks to prevent Iran from equipping Arab allies w/advanced weapons

Lacking personnel in Iraq, ISIS is turning to a new bomb delivery mechanism: cows - Link

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

The defiance of Pakistani atheists - Link

#Afghanistan
8/30 Misgivings in Trump camp over a deal with the Taliban - Link
… it all comes down to trust and capacity to deliver on guarantees ...
8/31 Kunduz survives third Taliban assault but loses top defender - Link
… and losing the social media war, too ...
2017 flashback: Kunduz voices: fear the worst as the Taliban closes in again - Link
… Kunduz province has long been Taliban territory
8/31 HRW analysis: “A rough road ahead to peace” - Link
… a proposed intra-Afghan dialogue... will be much tougher ...
9/1 Taliban attack Pul-e-Khumri in Baglan, a day after Kunduz - Link
… City of Kunduz cleared of insurgents, though ...
9/1 US, Taliban reach deal ‘in principle’ - Link
9/2 To start Afghan withdrawal, US would pull 5,400 troops in 135 days - Link
… eventual withdrawal of all 14,000 troops anticipated ...
9/2 Questions remain about CIA’s ongoing role in Afghanistan - Link
… some want it expanded in secret as the troops withdraw ...
9/2 Reality Check: bombings, attacks remind US of vacuum ’terrorists will fill’ - Link
… they are going to leave behind a fragmented country of simmering Afghan political factions with too many guns all too ready to create social and political chaos and impose stricter Islamist code ...
9/2 Taliban claim Kabul blast, as draft peace deal is signed - Link
… car bomb in Green Village, 5+ killed, dozens wounded
9/3 After Kabul bombing, residents demand foreigners leave neighborhood - Link

India

2 million forest dwellers evicted from land where they were ‘encroaching’ - Link
... "there is a need for a fool-proof system to curb people from taking undue advantage – but at the same time ensure that legitimate forest dwellers are able to retain their land."

India’s water stressed future is now - Link
… 600 million Indians face extreme water stress
… 21 Indian cities expected to run out of groundwater supplies next year

India’s widows, abused at home, have sought refuge in this holy city for centuries - Link

#Kashmir
8/20 Kashmir families demand answers for unaccounted-for deaths - Link
… Indian authorities denying their troops have caused any civilian deaths while enforcing a lockdown of more than two weeks in the Himalayan region ...
8/20 Teens swept up in night raids in Kashmir - Link
… at least 4,000 people have been detained in Kashmir  ...
8/20 No phones, no friends: cut off Kashmir children despair in lockdown - Link
… "The security measures have exacted a toll on the valley's children, who are going stir-crazy from the isolation and lack of communication with friends."
8/22 “We won’t give an inch”: India faces defiance over ‘Kashmir Gaza’ - Link
… neighborhoods and communities blocked and sealed off from outside forces ...
8/26 India scores a diplomatic win on Kashmir - Link
… the international community has been largely supportive of India’s action
8/26 India lockdown a major blow for Kashmir tourism - Link
… authorities forced every single tourist out
8/26 Pakistan gathering supplies for possible military action - Link
8/28 Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistani Kashmir) has witnessed a crackdown on dissent, too - Link
8/30 Tensions over Kashmir rise but India says ‘no war’ - Link
… "the Indian govt said it had no intention of going to war with Pakistan"
9/2 AFP Video: Life in Kashmir under communications blackout - Link
9/2 Kashmir trims its big fat weddings after Indian lockdown - Link
9/3 Decades after fleeing, Kashmiri Hindus still fear returning - Link

Nepal / Bhutan / Tibet

Nepal is in the midst of a hotel building spree: but will the tourists come? Link

Maldives / Sri Lanka

UN says Sri Lanka should work to reduce simmering ethno-religious tensions - Link

China

New China Source webinar: what is it like to be a Christian in China? Link
… a recorded version available for a small fee.

Chinese soft power and outbound tourism to Africa - Link
… and, Inside China’s growing presence in Africa - Link

China’s corporate social credit system spooks European companies - Link

A $15 billion oyster sauce family plots to survive 1,000 years - Link
… Lee Kum Sheung invented oyster sauce by accident 130 years ago ...

#Hong Kong
8/25 Week 12: tensions escalate, police fire weapon, use water cannons - Link
8/28 A nuclear option: Hong Kong and the threat of emergency law - Link
8/28 Photos: city on edge, Hong Kong’s summer of protest - Link
8/29 Macau positions itself as the rich, obedient golden child - Link
8/29 HK arrested Joshua Wong, other activists before anniversary - Link
… student leaders from demonstrations 5 years ago
… HK may be trying to arrest leaders, but the protests are very decentralized/‘leaderless’
8/29 "China is using Kublai Khan’s methods to quell protests in Hong Kong" - Link
… “hopes the threat of violence will be enough to empty the streets”
8/30 Playing tennis with tear gas grenades - Link
8/30 Fresh China troops arrive in Hong Kong ‘on normal routine annual rotation’ - Link
8/31 Clashes escalate as water cannons, firebombs are used - Link
9/2 Lam comments leaked: would quit if she could, ability to resolve crisis ‘limited’ - Link
9/2 Protesters damage one-third of MTR stations - Link
9/3 Beijing asserts power to declare emergency to quell HK unrest - Link
… China’s top office for HK affairs lays out specific measures for the city’s leader
9/4 Lam withdraws the extradition bill - Link
… is this a folding?
9/5 China still angrily trying to connect protests back to US - Link
9/5 Home of pro-democracy publisher firebombed - Link

Japan / Koreas / Mongolia

“Losing the eternal blue sky” - Pollution in Mongolia - Link

Southeast Asia

Persecution in Vietnam: 6 year old attacked - Link

Widodo strikes back at creeping Islamization in Indonesia - Link
… "The biggest threat today is the attempt to replace the unitary state of Indonesia with a caliphate..."

Why Widodo really wants out of Jakarta - Link
… "determined to shift the country’s balance of power away from dominant island of Java"

Something is very wrong on the Mekong river - Link
… "The water level in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s great inland lake, the “beating heart of the Mekong,” was reduced to unprecedented shallow areas with one floating village almost completely dried up. Almost unbelievable for Tonle Sap locals was that this happened in not in the dry season, but two months into the rainy season."

Bangladesh blocks Internet services in Rohingya camps - Link
… citing security concerns, but activists say it will make the situation worse ...

A fall in the number of Chinese tourists breeds unease in Thailand - Link
… but the number of Indians is up ...

Thailand’s roads are deadly, especially if you are poor - Link
… roads are well paved. The rich drive cars—very fast. The poor afford scooters & motorcycles, and helmets are a luxury.
… 2nd highest number of road fatalities per capita (Libya is #1)

Notable Europe / Americas

International students face hurdles over US immigration policy - Link
… "Unexpected denials and long delays have become increasingly common for international students and scholars seeking visas..."

109 US counties have become majority non-white since 2000 - Link

A taste of home for California’s Punjabi truck drivers - Link

New Data

Half the worlds’ 7.1 million refugee children don’t get an education - Link

The world’s immigration in one map: country-to-country net migration, 2010-2015 - Link

Pew: A closer look at how religious restrictions have risen around the world - Link

Pew: what Americans know about religion - Link

Longer reads

http://www.missionfrontiers.org/ - “The Global Death Industries & Missionary Response”

What majority world missions really looks like - Link
… "Mugera and her colleagues, for example, have set the audacious goal of planting 300 churches worldwide, with 20 of those in capital cities across Africa and 10 in international cities of influence. To support this goal, they train three separate cohorts of young leaders each year in leadership and spiritual development, as well as life skills like resourcefulness and relationship building. Nairobi Chapel has already sent ministers and church planters to Chicago, London, Sydney, and Christchurch. Their next mission field: San Francisco, which they have spent the last year praying and fasting for.”

Faith and freelancers: why churches are turning into co-working spaces - Link

Rising temperatures pose extreme danger to Muslims on hajj pilgrimage - Link
… "It’s not always easy to have faith — especially when your faith might involve trekking through temperatures upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit."

The refugee crisis: a system under strain - Link

Amazon fires deepen a split between Brazil’s evangelicals and their fellow Christians - Link
… Catholics and mainline Protestants speak out against environmental policies, evangelicals stay silent?

Infographic: Meet GenZ: the newest member to the workforce - Link

The leafy plants in our lives: mobilization lessons from Jonah - Link

Eddie Arthur: If you can’t find a church, should you move into a neighborhood? Link
… Also, Eddie on Ignoring the unreached - Link

Fame: a new kind of ‘prosperity gospel’ - Link
… that leads us away from the ‘uncool’ places to the ‘hip’ ones
… "In 2017, Forbes reported that one in four millennials would quit their jobs to become famous. Thirty percent would rather become famous than a doctor or lawyer. One in 10 would choose fame over a college degree…"

Seven massive changes where churches must respond - Link
… (1) death of cultural Christianity, (2) multi movement, (3) shift in work days, more…

Lifehack / Personal Development

Four strategies for large systems change - Link
… this is an interesting long read that a friend pointed me to, done in conjunction with Stanford Social Innovation Review. Helpful to consider the different kinds of change that have to be done together to achieve broader transformation.

Why 6 hours of sleep is as bad as none at all - Link
… a new sleep deprivation study highlights why self-care includes enough sleep at night …

How shift happens in our lives - Link
… interesting to consider these phases & skills in the light of people who are making the shift into missions …

Humans aren’t designed to be happy, so stop trying - Link
… happiness & positive thinking industry is worth US$11 billion annually in the USA
… there’s a lot of evolution and a bit that runs a little counter to Christianity but it’s interesting to see this viewpoint, which runs counter to the whole ‘happiness’ idea so pervasive in America.

The four tools of discipline - Link
… (1) delayed gratification, (2) accept responsibility, (3) dedication to reality, (4) balancing. This, too, runs somewhat counter to the whole ‘happiness’ idea.

This is why your startup will fail - Link
… because you pick the idea you have to work fast on, rather than maximizing the amount of time you have so you can build slow. “…It will take a long time to build the right thing.” I theorize movements, with their “go slow to go fast” thinking, are right in line with this.

The 37% rule: Explore vs Exploit - Link
… for any decision, gives yourself a certain amount of time, then spend 1/3rd of it (a little more) exploring to find the best solution. Then exploit that solution. This is a quick explainer. Better is the book, “Algorithms to Live By” - a fantastic, easy read that helps apply well known algorithms to life - Link

Futuristics/Technology

Pew: In emerging economies, smartphone and social media users have broader social networks - Link
… and are more likely to interact with people from diverse backgrounds

Facebook is getting rid of secret/closed facebook groups - Link
… that click-baity headline hides a more prosaic realty: instead of “open/secret/closed,” you’ll just have “public/private.” Private groups will have a *second* setting for visibility. This is just a usability change.

Chinese company uses AI to do read-alouds the news, books - Link
… rather than recording humans, they’ll use AI avatars of popular authors to do the audio versions.

Hong Kong: protesters spy a new enemy—lampposts - Link

… “Demonstrators fear that new smart lampposts, with their Bluetooth connectivity, sensors and cameras, hide technology to monitor their movements."

Nanjing uses facial recognition to monitor school attendance - Link
… and student’s attention to lectures! (Can you imagine a world where apps require you to actually watch the ads?)

China used iPhone hacks to attack Uighurs - Link
… the hacks were discussed by Google - Link

Yemen Houthis tout missiles that can down US drones - Link

Young people may download news apps but they spend very little time on them - Link
Teens creating their own news outlets via Instagram, text messaging - Link

Calendar spam? Here’s what to do - Link

China is recruiting spies via Linkedin - Link

China will provide Kyrgyzstan with facial recognition systems - Link

Quotable

"Ever knee will one day bow before God's breathtaking might, but most likely not in the manner we presently imagine.” ~David Joannes

"Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face.” ~R. Kent Hughes