#201—24 April 2020
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In a time when Covid-19 is sweeping the globe and many are out of work, we are mindful of the possibility of a downturn in charitable giving. Our work in missionary research is supported by a small number of donors as well as our agency, Beyond. One product of our work is this weekly newsletter; another less-visible result are the databases and lists that help many in the 24:14 network know where workers need to be sent. We are at the end of one quarter and the beginning of the next; if each reader would consider a contribution (for example, $25, $100 or $250) it would be a huge help to shore up our support for the next three months. Thanks for your consideration!

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New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard: >2.6M known cases, >186k known deaths - Johns Hopkins, NYT Tracker
… up from >2M known cases, >143k deaths last Friday
… up from 1.5M known cases, >89k deaths the Friday-before
… Crude fatality rate (known deaths / known cases) is 7.1%.

Africa

African nations struggle to acquire supplies amid pandemic - Link
… less than 2,000 ventilators, and other supplies also run low …
At least 300,000 Africans expected to die in pandemic - Link
… basically, absent any interventions, practically everyone on the continent will be infected …
… “best case scenario” = 122m infections, 2.3m hospitalizations, 0.3m deaths …

North Africa / Egypt / Sudan (266m)

Coronavirus dampens Ramadan celebrations in Egypt - Link
… “When I call people, nobody can come. It feels like God is refusing us.” …
Few ventilators, little cash: Sudan braces for coronavirus test - Link
… millions living in displacement camps, makeshift housing, particularly vulnerable …
Concerns of a coup stir in Sudan as capital begins 3-week lockdown - Link
… civilians, military jostling for power …
Algeria eases virus lockdown for Ramadan - Link

East Africa / Horn / Ethiopia / Somalia (520m)

Fears coronavirus cases will grow in Somalia as Ramadan gatherings continue - Link
… continue to congregate in mosques, gather at teashops, restaurants …
The fear of being sentenced to a Kenyan quarantine center - Link
… borders shut, flights restricted, curfews, travel restricted, public venues shut, face masks, more…
Ethiopia: Internet access in Oromia restored in April - Link
… had been shut off since January …

West Africa / Nigeria / Sahel (457m)

Nigeria’s northern governors to close Islamic schools due to virus risk - Link
… “which house millions of men and boys” ... children evacuated to their parents or states of origin …

South & Middle Africa (275m)

Mozambique: 52 young men allegedly killed by Islamic insurgents - Link
… after they refused to be recruited …
DR Congo’s health system is on “life support” as it struggles with Covid-19 - Link
… nearly half of health facilities lack clean water, sanitation …

West Asia / Gulf / Saudi / Turkey / Iran / Iraq (303m)

Iran extends closure of religious sites in midst of pandemic - Link
… until May 4, but much of the rest of economy has been allowed to re-open …
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard capitalizing on pandemic to strengthen grip on the country - Link
… the Guard has taken a massive hit to its finances with the decline in oil prices …
Death rate in Turkey suggests hidden spread of virus - Link
… official count is 90,000 cases. Exceeds China, poised to enter ‘100k case’ group. Link
Erdogan claims life in Turkey could return to normal by late May - Link
… “strong health infrastructure” but also “biggest crisis since WW2”
First confirmed virus case in refugee camp in Lebanon - Link
… 10s of 1000s of Palestinian refugees in camps …
Domestic violence in Lebanon spikes under lockdown  - Link
Saudi top religious authority recommends home prayers in Ramadan amid virus - Link
Saudis extend truce in Yemen by a month - Link
… efforts to control the coronavirus are leading to the extended cease-fire …
“Nobody can help Iraq any more” - Link
… “It is a terrible situation, but…”

Central Asia / Caucasus (78m)

Tajikistan: nothing to see here. That’s not Covid-19, it’s swine flu. Or pneumonia. Link
… “We’re not hiding anything.” Honest. Link
Tajik migrants are stuck in Russia - Link
… they went there to work, but the virus has taken their jobs. T. making no effort to bring them back.
Kazakhstan: Coronavirus is testing the uncertain private market. Link

South Asia / Pakistan / India / Bangladesh (2,040m)

India, Pakistan seek to lift some curbs to help millions hit by coronavirus lockdowns - Link
… “limited resumption of commerce and industry in the hinterland” …
Pakistan: Islamabad mosques defy lockdown - Link
… government gives into demand that mosques be allowed to stay open during Ramadan - Link
… but Sindh province bans prayer at mosques during virus - Link
Afghanistan’s next war – longread on virus with photos - Link
India: Powered by fear, locals enforce official coronavirus lockdown - Link
… volunteers set up roadblocks, neighborhoods set their own limits, risk of division & xenophobia …
Maharashtra allows some economic activity - Link
… Mumbai has most confirmed cases in India. But state will allow some activity in less-affected areas
Social distancing an ‘oxymoron’ in India - Link
… day laborers, overcrowding, spontaneous parades to celebrate health workers …
Desperate migrant workers trapped in lockdown - Link
Life under lockdown in India’s massive Dharavi slum - Link
… “100s of people sometimes share the same bathroom. Clean water not guaranteed. Soap a luxury.”
Covid-19 amplifies prejudices against India’s Muslims - Link
Bangladesh: as many as 100,000 flock to funeral, raising fears of infection spread - Link
Maldives locks down its capital - Link

East Asia / China / Taiwan / Korea / Japan (1,677m)

#China
Harbin curbs travel to prevent resurgence of infections - Link
… banned non-locals and non-locally registered vehicles from entering residential zones …
Wuhan has a growing number of recovered cases that still test positive for the virus - Link
… could be testing issues, or--? They are symptom free, but potentially still infectious …
The hidden crackdown on Tibet - Link
6 Christians briefly detained in China for distributing jailed pastor’s sermon for Easter - Link

#Taiwan / Mongolia / Macau / Hong Kong
Pandemic is cover for a crackdown in Hong Kong - Link

#Japan
Japan’s coronavirus cases rise to 10,000 - Link
Yakuza gangs vie for power in the midst of the pandemic - Link
… older gangs restoring reputations through public works …
… newer gangs vie for profits by selling medical supplies …

#Koreas
N Korean lecturers say there are confirmed virus cases in the country - Link
… defector to China tested positive for the virus - Link
NK News reports ‘panic buying’ of food in Pyongyang - Link
… seems most likely related to anti-virus measures …
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has disappeared after a medical procedure, and speculation is rampant. While most analysts are adopting a cautious “wait and see” perspective, he has not yet re-appeared to defy expectations.
… N Korea media “unusually silent” amid growing speculation on health - Link
… Sister seen as de facto #2 - Link
… “Kim Jong Un has put North Korea in a position to outlast his reign” - Link
South Koreans return to work, malls, golf courses - Link
… social distancing extended, masks worn, but “some relief” offered …

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia bans ‘mudik’ to reign in Coronavirus - Link
… traditional Ramadan-fueled exodus from cities to home villages.
Singapore sees huge surge in coronavirus cases - Link
… 80% of all cases linked to migrant worker dormitories – Video
… Pastor helps keep migrant workers fed during lockdown - Link
Vietnam to ease nationwide lockdown - Link
… mass quarantines, contact tracing contained relatively small outbreak clusters

Europe / North America (1,125m)

NYC serving 500,000 free halal meals to Muslims during Ramadan - Link
… to as many as 2 million residents unable to pay for food – the food insecure …
Muslim call to prayer will be heard in Minneapolis, Mn. neighborhood - Link
… many Somalis in this neighborhood. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when they can’t gather at mosque, special permission has been given to sound the call to prayer during Ramadan to provide a sense of togetherness.

Russia coronavirus cases seeing dramatic rise - Link
… “all the hospitals are full” - Link

Longform Pew report: Americans’ views of China turn increasingly negative - Link
… 9 in 10 Americans view China as a threat …
… mainly a view of China as a whole, particularly its government? …
… I could envision a scenario where this could actually help mission work …

Churches in the USA should not be the first to reopen - Link
Church donations have plunged, and some won’t survive - Link

Immigrants are leaving the United States - Link
… the immigrant population is at a 19-year low …

Coronavirus trickling into Haiti - Link

New Data & Resources

30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World begins with Ramadan on April 24th. - Link
… get the latest downloadable prayer guide …

“Instead of coronavirus, the hunger crisis could kill us.” A global food crisis looms - Link
… number facing acute hunger could double to 265 million by the end of the year …
… Five of the countries most at risk of famine - Link
… The hunger crisis in Afghanistan - Link

Economist presents analysis on excess deaths - Link
… this is an interesting analysis that shows total confirmed deaths and how the exceed what is normal for any given country or city, shows the real impact of Covid-19 …

New Longreads

Oil collapse, Covid-19 create toxic geopolitical stew - Link
… ‘monstrous calamity for countries heavily reliant on oil production’ …
… Iraq, 90% of government revenues from oil, payroll of 4 million workers, support for poor …
… Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador economies could shrink dramatically …
… Nigeria, Angola both: 90% of export earnings from oil, 2/3 of government revenue …
… Saudi Arabia, Russia both feeling the pinch …

WTO reports 80 countries are limiting the export of face masks and other goods - Link
… we are not all in this together …

In the shadow of coronavirus, Muslims face a Ramadan like never before - Link
Around the world, the devout are adapting their rituals to fit life under the virus - Link
… a broad survey of religious changes under various religions …

Globalization was in decline before coronavirus - Link
… the pandemic will accelerate it, but probably lead to regionalism

Would-be autocrats are using the virus to grab more power - Link
… “strong measures are needed to keep the public safe” …

Is tourism at risk from the coronavirus? Link
Islam’s holiest sites empty as Ramadan begins - Link

New Technology

Ben Evans: Covid-19 and forced experiments - Link
… useful analysis on the creative disruption and potential new startups in this environment …

Apple + Google improve user privacy, developer flexibility on “exposure notification system” - Link
… operating system bits should be out next week …

Migrants use digital ‘fab labs’ to address Djibouti health protection shortages - Link
… using 3D printers to make face shields, training youth with new skills …

To handle new work from home trend, US FCC opens up 6Ghz spectrum - Link
… lots of additional WiFi bandwidth, faster than before, but will take a while to get to market …

Snapchat’s pandemic-lockdown-fueled resurgence - Link

Many conferences are going on line to try and survive economically - Link
… but Ben Evans notes conferences also are valuable for serendipitous, chance meetings.
… how to bring value to conference goers? A group of “TED Talks” only part of the value.

Iran launches its first spy satellite - Link. Or maybe not.

Despite security issues, Zoom grew from 10m (2019) to 300m today - Link
… has added more than 100m users in the last three weeks …

‘Pandemic drones’ can detect fevers and social distancing - Link

Zoom rolls out security updates - Link
… but do we trust them? (For most people, it’ll be fine.)
… I’ve largely switched to using Webex. Some people I know are using Wire.

China still hacking Uighur phones, even in midst of pandemic - Link

The Last Five

#200 - April 17
#199 - April 10
#198 - April 3
#197 - March 27
#196 - March 20