Roundup #175
September 20, 2019

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North-West Africa

Political outsiders sweep Tunisia’s 2nd election - Link

Egypt / Sudan

Rise in children forced to join militias raises fresh fears over South Sudan - Link … as each side seeks to bolster its infantry numbers … includes girls being recruited for ’services'

Western Africa / Lake Chad

West Africa leaders pledge $1 billion 'to fight Islamist threat.’ "Groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the arid Sahel region this year, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking local ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso." - Link

Nigeria

International aid agency shut down in Nigeria after being accused of “feeding terrorists” [Boko Haram militants] - Link

Nigeria wants to give identity numbers to all 200 million of its citizens “in a bid to create a harmonized database of its population, the largest in Africa” - Link

Ethiopia / Horn / East Africa

Uptick in church burnings in Ethiopia causes alarm - more than 30 churches destroyed since July, protests planned, meetings held - Link

UN warns 2 million at risk of starvation in Somalia - Link

Drought compounds security woes, Somalis flee to Ethiopia - Link
… crop failures + livestock die-offs + Al-Shabaab extortion = thousands displaced

Middle Africa / Lakes

About 2/3rds of the population of Central African Republic depend on aid to survive - Link
… “crisis is on par with that of Yemen or Syria but gets much less attention”

Central Asia / Caucasus

How domestic violence goes ignored in Tajikistan - Link
… 97% of men, 72% of women believe violence is something to be endured for the sake of family happiness

Wonderful little film about Kyrgyzstan and the man seeking to build a tourist business. Something like this could easily be filmed to share about a place that’s on your heart - Link

Religion, beards, and Uzbekistan’s secular government - Link
… "The latest such event … when police in Tashkent rounded up about a hundred men and shaved their beards. Law enforcement associates beards with following a strict Wahhabi version of Islam. After the incident and ensuing outcry, the leadership of the state Committee on Religious Affairs, Uzbekistan’s top religion policymaking body, was removed. Although not officially linked to the beard-shaving backlash, the move indicated an unfavorable reaction to the events by the country’s top leader."

Saudi / Israel / Lebanon / Syria / Gulf

A long read on how Syrian refugees make it into Germany - Link
… “Four years after the refugee crisis, Germany remains a safe space…”

Mass weddings in Lebanon - religious minorities (eg Christians) recognize the importance of demographic expansion to maintain their share of the country (and influence). But the weddings in churches are expensive, so Patrons are sponsoring ‘mass weddings’ for 30 or 40 people at a time - Link

West Asia / Turkey

How Turkish TV is taking over the world - Link
… “rival US TV for international popularity, sweeping through the Middle East, Asia, Latin America.” A fascinating long read that looks into Turkish culture and its influence.

Iran/Iraq

Rising tensions:
Saudi oil supply disrupted after drone attack - Link
… half of Saudi oil impacted, but represents ~5% of global supply …
… USA, Russia actually bigger producers of oil right now ...
Yemeni Houthi rebels claim credit for attack - Link
But other sources say the drone attacks did not come from Yemen
… allegation: Iranian drones from Iraqi territory carried out attack - Link
… “in reprisal for Saudi-coordinated Israeli drone attacks on Iran"
Iran warns of ‘all out war’ if attacked - Link
Saudi Arabia says oil will be restored by end of month - Link

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Pashto

Yet more Taliban attacks leave dozens dead in Afghanistan - Link

Opinion: What a peace in Afghanistan might mean for the Hazara people - not automatically ‘peace and prosperity’ - Link

There isn’t a single monolithic approach to women’s rights even in bastions of Islam. In northwest Pakistan around Peshawar, a recent order for schoolgirls to cover themselves ’to prevent an unethical accident’ caused a furor on social media and was eventually withdrawn. Link

Hindu headteacher allegedly makes comments about Islam in Sindh province. Mob attacks Hindu temple, shops, school. Principle now facing blasphemy charges, possible death sentence. Rioters also charged. Link

India

India’s massive, scary new camps - Link
… India stripped nearly 2 million people of citizenship, alleging they are illegal immigrants in Assam. Most are of Bengali origin. Most are Muslims. ‘You can [appeal], … but if all that fails, you can be sent to one of the 10 mass detention camps the government plans to build…’ And, ’the government indicates it plans to extend the process to the whole country.’

Abused by soldiers and militants, Kashmiris face dangers in daily life - "Beleaguered Kashmiris are now getting hit from two sides, caught between the militants and security forces who, residents say, continue to abuse and torture them." Link

The dirty work behind India’s smart cities - Link
… “Modern Indian cities sweep garbage and the poor aside in multimillion dollar schemes to modernize.” Who will stand with the poorest of the poor?

Bengali / Bangladesh

New study of how Bangladeshi poor are spending ‘far more than government or aid agencies’ to combat climate change (e.g. repair damages, raise houses above flood waters, etc) - Link

China

To tackle swine fever & soaring prices, China will release 10,000 tons of frozen pork from ’strategic pork reserves’ - Link

#HK
9/15, 99th protest day, Molotovs and tear gas - Link
9/16, Gasoline bombs thrown at government offices - Link
HK reopens after another weekend of protests, violence - Link

Here’s a look back at the 1967 protests in Hong Kong - Link

Japan / Koreas / Mongolia

NYT: After fleeing N Korea, women get trapped as cybersex slaves in China - Link
… “est. 60% of female N K refugees in China are trafficked into the sex trade”
… Christian S Korean pastors part of effort to free the women: amazing testimony bit

Southeast Asia

Why is West Papua in constant turmoil? The Diplomat looks at the Indonesian territory and its 50 year struggle for independence - Link

Why Myanmar’s Wa always get what they want - this long read looks in-depth at the situation of ethnic armies and tensions within the country - Link

Notable Europe / Americas

Samos Island, Greece has over 4,000 migrants in a camp engineered for 700 - Link

Most Americans continue to favor legal status for undocumented immigrants (but there are some significant differences in ‘lean’ between different political parties, as you might expect) - Link

Germany’s vanishing monasteries: from 110,000 monks & nuns in 1960 to 17,900 today. Link

The not-so-great reason divorce rates in America are declining - Link

New Data

Infographic: the 29 megaregions driving the world’s economy: these are also potential nexus points for Gospel spread, as well as locations for engaging with diaspora unreached megapeoples - Link
… if you want to start curating your own information resources, you might do worse than some automated Google searches combining these cities and certain missiological keywords (e.g. ‘Christianity’ or ‘diaspora’ or…?)

Number of migrants growing faster than general population growth rate, increase % of global population - Link

Infographic: the population size of China’s provinces compared to other countries - gives a sense of the scale, but don’t confuse the comparison as anything more than population! - Link

Longer reads

Payne, J. D. Rethinking Location. In this piece, he lays an excellent basic theological/missiological for why we engage places: because of the people in them, not because of the place itself.

“Refugee camps are the ‘cities of tomorrow,’ says humanitarian aid expert.” Link

Futuristics/Technology

Chinese firms driving rise of #surveillance in Africa - Link

"How technology opened doors for Uighurs—and then became a trap." This medium-length read explores how Uighurs used their language on the Internet to share privately—and then China started cracking down, and what was shared on the Internet was used against them. Link

China Digital Times has a three-part series examining China’s “Sharp Eyes” rural surveillance program, which looks at “Shandong to Xinjiang” (with links to the other two parts). Link

No Chinese ID, no problem: China rolling out real-time passport authentication to foreigners - Link

Would be winners try to rewrite history in advance: China unleashes Twitter trolls to discredit Hong Kong’s protests - Link

Installed software ‘MFSocket’ allows Chinese police to spy on people from their phones. Works on Android and, with a little work, iPhones - Link

Rest of the world is catching up to China on surveillance technologies - Link

Infographic: the world’s most surveilled cities - Link

Quotable

"Progress comes from caring more about what needs to be done than about who gets the credit.” ~Dorothy Height