#202—1 May 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: over 3.1 million cases, 227k deaths - Johns Hopkins, NYT Tracker
… up from >2.6M known cases, >186k known deaths - Johns Hopkins, NYT Tracker
… up from >2M known cases, >143k deaths the Friday-before
… WHO estimates global crude fatality rate at 3.4% - Link

North Africa / Egypt / Sudan (266m)

As pandemic encroaches on Abyei, gensions rise over disputed territory - Link
… deployment of police units has been delayed due to virus travel restrictions …
Sudan: virus could be the tipping point to ‘untold suffering’ - Link
… “health system simply not equipped to handle an outbreak on the scale we have seen elsewhere”
Sudan outlaws female genital mutilation - Link
… “but some warn that laws alone cannot outlaw the practice” …
Libya’s eastern forces will cease-fire for Ramadan - Link
… after suffering setbacks during weeks of intense fighting …

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

How do you fight a locust invasion amid a pandemic? Link
… younger, more aggressive swarms hatching, spread across the region …
… swarms 20x bigger than first invasion, could be 400x bigger in June …
The Somali community in London has been hard hit by the virus - Link
… many of them have lost jobs and livelihoods …
… many can no longer send home the remittances that Somali families in Somalia depend on …
… Somalis normally send home $1 billion in remittances yearly, more than aid to Somalia …

West Africa / Nigeria / Sahel (457m)

Nigeria to ease restrictions in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun states - Link
… “number of cases continues to rise” …
Nigeria’s governors seek to make face masks compulsory in public - Link
School closures have damaged children across West Africa - Link
… Closures in Sierra Leone 2014-15 during Ebola epidemic, and now again 6 years later
… Child labor and sexual exploitation increase without school
Nigeria’s unprecedented censure of China - Link
… “calls for nationwide audit of status of every Chinese national in Nigeria”
… “forceful denunciation of Chinese government by Nigerian elites”

South & Middle Africa (275m)

South Africa beginning phased ease of lockdown - Link

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

Middle East economies take massive hit with oil price crash - Link
… “reverberating across the region… at a time when faced with explosive social unrest…”
Saudi malls fill as kingdom eases coronavirus closures - Link
… “public venues where social distancing is difficult remain closed” …
Bomb blast kills 40 people in Syria’s Afrin - Link
… Turkey blamed it on the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia …
UAE says it has tested more than 1 million people - Link
As fighting surges in Yemen, country hit with first cluster of virus infections - Link
Yemen’s “war within war” - Link
… “a declaration of self-rule by Yemeni separatists complicates Saudis efforts to withdraw”
Iran arrests 3,600 for ‘spreading coronavirus-related rumors’ - Link
Lebanon: hungry protesters are back on the streets - Link
… 75% of Lebanese need aid after coronavirus …
Living in despair: Coronavirus trapping domestic workers in “virtual slavery” - Link
… “imperiled hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers throughout the world” …
… “No good options” for migrant workers in Gulf Covid-19 lockdown - Link

Central Asia / Caucasus (78m)

US Religious Freedom report signals improvements in Uzbekistan - Link
… “recommended Uzb. not be deemed a ‘country of particular concern’”
It officially has no coronavirus cases, but Tajikistan behaves like it’s fighting a pandemic - Link
… but, then… “Tajikistan finally confirms first cases of coronavirus” - Link

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

Pakistani markets reopen, few wear masks (video) - Link

“This hospital needs to be quarantined”, but country is at war - Link
… 20% of staff at one hospital are quarantined, but doors remain open …
Afghans must choose between sickness and starvation - Link
… “millions of poverty-stricken families face a similar dilemma” …
… and, “Should I buy a mask or food”: South Asia’s stark choice - Link
How women fare under Taliban rule - Link
Taliban constitution offers glimpse into militant group’s vision for Afghanistan - Link
Kabul: food prices rise 20% to 30% in past two months - Link

A nation on pause: coronavirus in India - Link
… great longread from 1843 Magazine …
Unified in lockdown, India splinters over reopening - Link
… once-broad consensus on how to proceed has weakened, many staying home anyway …
India allows small shops to reopen - Link
… “only half the staff could work, must practice social distancing” …
Uttar Pradesh seals Covid-19 hotspots in 15 districts, makes masks mandatory - Link
Millions of stranded migrants can return to their home states - Link
… “facilitated by states… screened for symptoms at source, destination… quarantined…”
… first train carrying 1,000 migrants leaves from Telangana for Jharkand - Link
Known cases in India rises to 30,000 – Link
Frequent hand washing isn’t possible for millions of Indians - Link
… 800 million Indians face high to extreme water stress (unavailability)
… 70% of the surface water resources are contaminated
… 82% of rural households, 60% of urban households don’t have piped water
… Many who cannot leave their house under lockdown, cannot access water

Mass animal sacrifice in the name of God persists - Link
Learning from disaster, Nepal copes with coronavirus 5 years after earthquake - Link

The Covid-19 catastrophe in Bangladesh - Link
… social distancing is anathema to the culture, impossible in dense residential areas …
… testing is far too small to have a good view of the spread of the virus …
… gatherings for major religious events around Ramadan could be a vector …
Hundreds of doctors have been infected with coronavirus - Link
Garment factories re-open after a month-long shutdown - Link

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

China installing surveillance cameras outside of homes—and sometimes inside - Link
… enforcing mandatory two-week quarantines for traveling expatriates …
China’s factories are back, but it’s consumers aren’t - Link
… job losses, pay cuts have left its people reluctant to spend, a problem soon faced elsewhere …
China’s economic woes could be worse as legions of migrant workers return home - Link

What comes next for North Korea – may be jumping the gun a bit, but… Link
… the succession, if it is needed, may get … messy …
A brief history of North Korean officials disappearing, and reappearing - Link
… South Korea says rumors of Kim Jong Un illness are wrong - Link
Scenarios for what nations would do for a transition - Link
South Korea’s big churches reopen with designated seats, size limits - Link
… halls with capacity for 3,000 limited to 700 … worshippers must wear masks …
Apparently, tests in recovered patients found false positives, not reinfections - Link

Southeast Asia (700m)

After aggressive testing, Vietnam says it has contained the virus outbreak - Link
In the Mekong, a confluence of calamities - Link
… prolonged, severe drought + Chinese dams keep back water + virus
No rural refuge for Covid-19 unemployed Thais - Link
… “Thais dislocated by 1997-98 Asian financial crisis found relief in rural economy”
… “No longer an option”

Europe / North America (1,125m)

Russia’s total cases extend past 100,000 - Link
… “medical facilities one of the main breeding grounds for the virus” - Link
… “two dozen hospitals have had to shut down for long quarantines”
Russia extends entry ban for foreigners over pandemic - Link
… “until Russia has the virus under control” …
Russia cuts off wheat, other grain exports - Link
… shrugging off warnings from international orgs asking not to disrupt global food supply chains …

Germany easing lockdown restrictions - Link
Slovenia eases restrictions as coronavirus curbed - Link
“I could be one of them” – Belgians help migrants amidsts coronavirus - LInk

Few Americans say their house of worship is open, but … Link
… a quarter say their faith has grown amid pandemic

New Data

Half the world’s workers “at immediate risk of losing livelihood due to coronavirus” - Link
… 3.3 billion total global working population
… 2 billion in the “informal economy”, 60% collapse of their wages
… 1.6 billion people in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed

US 2020 annual report on religious freedom released - Link

For the first time since 1998, global poverty will increase - Link
… by the end of the year, 8% (0.5 billion) could be pushed into poverty …
… Sub-Saharan Africa could see worst economy in 40 years …

New Longreads

How past pandemics & plagues have shaped human history - Link
… An interesting collection of articles from Pocket

Under the cover of coronavirus, governments punish adversaries, reward friends - Link

The “terrible, moral choice” of reopening - Link
… looks at the reopening measures in Europe, and the challenges involved …

As Ramadan starts, Muslims (mostly) accede to pandemic orders - Link
… images from around the world: a Ramadan like no other - Link
Asia’s mosques deserted as coronavirus keeps Ramadan faithful away - Link
Digital pilgrimages allow the faithful to travel the world from their couches - Link

What African countries are doing to help people eat amid the lockdowns - Link
… cash transfers, food handouts, it’s a difficult task …

From Dhaka to Gaza: how do you socially distance in a crowd? Link
… “average home of less than 120 square feet… easier said than done…”

Pandemic is getting the “total attention” of the Gates Foundation - Link

“Travel bubbles” are how the world will get moving again - Link
… but they could lead to some places being cut off? …
… want to join my Bubble? What your future social life could be like - Link

“My world is shattering”: Foreign students stranded by coronavirus - Link

What life in a war zone [Afghanistan] teaches about surviving a pandemic - Link

What a world with immunity certificates required for work, travel might look like - Link
… lest you think it’s impossible, it happened in New Orleans in the 1800s …

New Technology

I don’t think you should use Facebook’s Zoom competitor, Messenger Rooms. Here’s why.

I have been experimenting with Cisco’s Webex platform. It’s pretty good but the audio seems from time to time to be glitchy.

Google’s “Meet” announcement caught my eye. Link
… I’m very happy, generally, with Gmail’s security provisions, and this seems to be similar.
… Meet is adding about 3 million new users per day – some unhappy Zoomers? - Link

‘Zoom’ fatigue is taxing the brain: here’s why it happens - Link
… the science applies to any teleconferencing app …

China trialing e-RMB, first state-run digital currency - Link

For a billion Indians, the government’s contact-tracing app could become mandatory - Link

The Last Five

#201 - April 24
#200 - April 17
#199 - April 10
#198 - April 3
#197 - March 27